These Are the Days

My heart is racing as I sit on the couch this morning.  My hands are shaking. I just finished episode eight of The Pacific, the World War II miniseries on HBO.

I'm not going to write a review or anything like that.  But rather how I feel after watching it.

I'll start by admitting that lately, I'm much more easily moved to tears.  Though I may be an emotional guy, I've never been accused of being a crier -- unless Rudy is on the screen.  Now, inspirational, romantic or even sad news hits me harder...right in my chest and lungs.  And tears roll down my face.  They did at Wildflower.  They are this morning.

I know why.

It's because I realize, at 35 years old, finally, I am embedded in the prime of my life.  Right now.  In THIS moment.  I'm in peak physical condition.  My mental outlook is strong.  I'm marrying a truly stunning lady in every way.  My family is healthy and happy.  I have good friends.  A good job.  And I'm able to pursue my own dreams without guilt or worry.

Some of my friends and even family members haven't always been so lucky.  Some didn't make it to 30.  Some made it to 30 but not 35.  A few never saw 25.

They never got to experience what it's like to know that life doesn't get much better than this.  And I've spent years and years taking that for granted. Like a lucky little dandelion seed floating cluelessly, miraculously, from one unexpected adventure to the next...that's been my life.  A "Forrest Gump" existence, as my parents call it.

When you realize how precious that is, when you see how easily fate could have been crueler...a war, a draft, a battle, and a coffin for hits.  Hard.  When you watch a man fall in love -- whether it's in real life or on the big screen -- and then die at the top of his game, it hits hard.  When you know what that love is or good fortune or good health, and you know that it can all be blown to bits at any moment, it hits hard.

I am lucky. Very lucky.  And I think about that a lot lately.  I take nothing for granted.  Not in training.  Not with my relationship. Not with my family.  Not with my friends.

It could all go away tomorrow.  I could be cut down in my prime.  But I am also wide awake, a passenger riding shotgun and taking notes in my own head.

I am more aware than I've ever been in my entire life -- living long and full and strong enough to know that these are indeed the best of days.

That's why I cried a little this morning.

202 days and counting.