written on Wednesday, May 4, 2011
I was inspired by the farewell post of a man I've never heard of, published the day of his death. Well, maybe less "inspired" and more "filled with relief and gratitude." You can read his letter here. At the time of this writing, however, that link is being hammered by, I'm sure, an overwhelming surge of traffic as word of this post makes its way around the web. Here is Google's cache, and here is a pastebin copy. It's worth a read, but be forewarned: It is pretty wrenching.
Derek's post-mortem post made me glad I'm living the life I'm living now. I'm 31 years old -- 32 in a month -- and while my daughter Emma is at school, I spend the day programming, running errands, reading, and otherwise pursuing my own personal interests. When she gets home, I make sure she does her homework, I make dinner, I sleep.
Every morning I get to wake up next to a beautiful, brilliant, driven woman who's several years my junior but has a firmer grasp of what matters in life than I think I could have ever hoped to in my 20s. I have never felt better about another person in my life.
I have no bills and I maintain a modest lifestyle. I am attending university for a degree in a subject about which I'm passionate, and which will make me some extra money down the road when I need it.
I set my own schedule every day, fitted around picking up & dropping off my daughter at school. Beyond the normal stresses of being a single parent, my life is astoundingly, remarkably, wonderfully, joyously stress-free. For the first time in my life, I think, I don't have anything to complain about.
Reading Derek's post has affirmed the decisions I've made to put me in this position. I regret nothing, and just about every day is awesome. If you've read this far, please don't take this as shameless bragging. It is a sincere expression of gratitude to Derek, and a grinning shout of relief at the sky that I have let so many unnecessary, trivial things fall away from my life over the past few years.