Let’s start from the beginning. Not 1966. Just the beginning of the 50th year. A little back story first.
July 4th, 1976 I was 10 years old. It was the 200th birthday of the USA. It was a great day with my family. That night I laid in bed. I thought the next important year would be the year 2000. I was sure we would have jet packs. Anyway, I figured out how old I would be. I was like holy hell. 34 is old. I wondered if I would have a wife and kids. Yes to both. But only kids right now.
So, in the year 2000 I was thinking about my next big year. It was 2016. I would be 50. I called this year “more than half dead year”. You’re hearing that here first.
Well between all these “important” dates fuckery was following me like a demon in a horror movie.
Divorce(s), owning a business, having said business kick my ass, bankruptcy, school, jobs that I was not happy with. That could be a whole series. Not going to share that.
Shit, I almost forgot. I am a Marine.
A few years ago. I was dating this girl. We were planning this huge trip among other things for my 50th birthday. Weeks in Europe back packing, staying in hostels, and documenting it all. I was beyond excited. I was packing my GORUCK GR2 with all kinds of gear for this trip. Fresh passport and I even looked like a Eastern Bloc local in the photo. I do not care to share exactly what happened, but Europe was off. I got off the grid for a while and hid from life. Europe will eventually happen.
Then I met someone who repaired every bit of the damage I had ever had. She moved in with me and happiness was everywhere. She is very special to me. We are no longer together, but will always be connected. She is a huge part of the 50th year.
Her and I were out trail running, I tweaked my ankle on a pine cone. She was examining my foot making sure I was ok. She noticed on the bottom of my foot on the ball was a small little blemish that looked like a blood blister. She was leaving for basic in a few days and made me promise to get it checked out.
I made an appointment and a week or two later I was at the doctor getting a biopsy. It was a Monday. I was in the oil field when I got the call from the nurse. She asked if I could come in to speak with my doctor immediately. It was Wednesday. She took me back to his office. I am sitting there scared sitting on his sofa. He comes in and tells me I have stage 2 melanoma.
I have cancer. The demon is back.
I have cancer. He had my surgery scheduled for the next Tuesday. The cancer is in my foot. How do you get foot cancer? I have cancer. My dad died of cancer and now I have it. I only told a few people. Most of you are hearing it here for the first time. I called my friend Doc. He is actually a Dr. I have cancer. I do not remember anything we talked about. But I do know he was trying to tell me everything was ok.
That weekend I had a GORUCK event in NOLA. It was a big one. A reunion of sorts. I participated in this event drunk as you could be. It was the hardest event I had done due to being so drunk. I have cancer. I can be drunk and have a semi par performance.
I did not tell my girlfriend I had cancer. I kept telling her all was well and that I was ok. She had enough stress going through Army Basic. I spoke with her that weekend. She uplifted me.
I did eventually tell her. Let’s wait a few for that.
I called my daughter and my son next. Telling them what had happened. My daughter and son in law came up from Austin. She had googled so much about my cancer, I felt she was qualified to perform the surgery or assist. I realized that would not happen when my Aggie Dr comes in to meet my Longhorn daughter and son in law.
It was a few days, then I got word all margins clear. I was cancer free. With a huge hole in my foot. Did you know Bob Marley died of foot cancer.
A few weeks later I get to FaceTime my girlfriend. I tell her everything and how she saved my life. The Surgeon told me he had to go really deep and it would have progressed to full blown cancer had I not come in when I did.
I still love her. I always will. It is a special love when you have someone save your life. I would not have gone to the doctor if she had not made me promise to. Our not being together may or may not be discussed a little later. She saved my life.
Oil field. I was laid off. The 50th year was sucking pretty good. I have great friends that encouraged me. Amazing kids and a girlfriend that is in the Army that saved me from cancer. The Twin City Bomber Bash was pretty good this year. The Custom Bomber Bash Light was a mini Heavy. Things were going in the right direction. So there is light at the end of this tunnel.
I was texting a friend one day and told him I was laid off and there were no oil field jobs. FU Obama. He said write the owner of GORUCK, who is also a friend, an email. I did.
I love GORUCK. It has changed my life and I want people to experience what I have by doing these events. I have wrote before about my GR1. It’s my backpack.
Anyway, they decide to hire me. FU demons I am back winning.
No Europe. But, life is great. Fantastic job, great kids, no cancer, moving to Jacksonville Beach, and a beautiful, smart, girlfriend who can detect cancer.
The process is started. I have a POD on order. I am packing the house. I am moving to the freaking beach for a dream job. We find a great place to rent that will take our 4 rescue pups.
It happened out of the blue. I do not have a girlfriend anymore. We will not talk about that anymore. Discussion about her is off limits. She saved my life, so remember that.
Lease signed, deposits made. Then a demon hurricane. Yes, that is a thing. WTF Hurricane Matthew is headed towards my rental. Thankfully he gave my place a pass. I say bye to my family and friends. I leave my home for most of my life. Goodbye Louisiana.
Hello Florida. That was a hella ride here. 4 dogs in the back seat of a Jeep packed full. What was supposed to be a 12 hour trip. Turns into a 15 hour ordeal with stops to let dogs pee every so often.
Within the first few weeks of being here. Petey my oldest pup hurts his back and would not eat or drink. Thankfully he heals up quickly. I have other shit going on that I will not talk about. Since I have moved here I have had two friends come and visit. OK, I am getting off track.
Right now I have this amazing job, with a group of fantastic people. I have projects at work I am uber excited about. I am interacting with really cool people. There are dogs at work. My rental is a short walk to the beach. I bike to work almost every day. I enjoy working with these driven people and their dogs. Dogs should always get two mentions. I am blessed.
Is everything good? Kinda, yes, maybe. I realized there will always be demons chasing me.
This also, if you are 30 and tell me you are old. Go fuck yourself.
So here I am almost at the end of 2016. I am 50 years old aka almost half dead and single. Having to go and get checked for cancer every year and maybe shortening my life a little doing Crossfit. I look in the mirror and I do not recognize my face sometimes. Please use a sunscreen with a high SPF.
Is this what I expected for the 50th year? No. In some ways it exceeded my expectations. My kids, son in law, job, dogs, and a close circle of friends. All of that I feel is beyond what I deserve. Having someone enter my life for a short period and being so impactful, I did not see that coming.
What is the next big year? I just gave up on that. I know we do not have jet packs and it is not really feasible. That sucks because it would be super rad.
I do know that you must surround yourself with good, solid people. My most important thing I learned is about unconditional love. You do not get that share. It is private and buried in a deep vault in my soul.
Being “more than half dead” is good and bad. I wish that I had some really cool knowledge to share with you. But I do not. I am just going to try to enjoy every second I can because you never know when it might end. It does end. I can attest to that.
Be kind, polite and honest. Read books, have a drink every so often and If you love someone make sure they know it.
I keep my private life private. I am protective over my kids, friends, and pups. This is hard to share, but I feel I need to.I do not know how to end this little story. I am thankful for all that I have. Family, friends, dogs, coworkers, and my job. I love my daughter, son in law, and my son.
I will have more to say during The 50th Year Part 2. There is something that I hope happens. we will have to wait and see. Right now I am going to spend some time with my pups. Thank you for listening.