This last year was a tough one. It seemed far too many people I care about were leaving this world and far too few were coming in. I suppose that goes with the age, being over 50 and closer to AARP than INDIE.
On the upswing, this is the longest I’ve been in remission (over 7 months) in 5 years. It’s the kind of milestone that makes you want to jump up and down for joy, but it’s hard to do when so many others are struggling or worse, have lost the battle. This last year alone, 2 friends from different parts of my life, gone to cancer and several others were diagnosed. Just when the heart wrenching sadness was starting to lift, WHAM, one of my greatest inspirations in music and film, David Bowie dies, cancer. WTF people ?? WTF~ Though I do like what Simon Pegg said about how lucky we should feel that during the earth’s billions of years in existence we got to be on it the same time and place as them, sometimes being a stage IV survivor is a frustratingly lonely thing to be.
I was laying there in bed that morning, mulling over my daily pep talk, strolling through emails and Facebook, waiting for the smell of coffee brewing to waft in from the kitchen, when I saw the news about David Bowie. I was crestfallen. Then I was obsessed with which cancer (there are over a hundred y’know) he died of, but they didn’t release that information. Given that he was a smoker most of his life it’s a pretty educated guess, but still. This is something we cancerous people think about. Always trying to connect the dots. I looked up to the ceiling, feeling helpless and asked myself, “What do you do when your hero dies?” Now, maybe I’m going a bit senile. Maybe I can hear the dead, or maybe my conscience is just that creative because I can totally imagine my dad up there, dragging him by the arm and saying, “You need to tell my daughter this. She’ll listen to you.” But what I heard back was definitely in David Bowie’s unmistakably quiet, yet commanding voice, “You become one.”
There are a lot of ways to take that. Design and wear a costume, running around like a vigilante. Join the Peace Corps or just keep doing what I’m doing, beating the odds and making the best of my extended life, e.g. the 12 Adventures. You say maybe I’m already a hero, but I don’t quite feel heroic. I feel like I need to do/be more.
So I came up with something to help create a counterbalance; 60 Good Deeds. Throughout 2016, every month I’m going to give a total of $X to 4 different places helping others in need. It’ll be a combination of supporting the arts, health, friends and community. Without big fuss, after I’ve chosen one and done my part, I’ll post it on Facebook. Not a “Look at me. I did a good deed,” and I’ll try to stay off the soap box with just a simple “I like this.” or “This is cool.” But you’ll know what it means. I say “X” because I don’t want to put a number in anyone’s head in case they are inspired to follow suit. “X” should be whatever number you’re comfortable with whether that’s 20, 50 or 500 (or more).
Before you think that something as small as $20 won’t make a difference, check out Alex. Never met him, but someone I trust brought his situation to may attention and his struggle is all too familiar. 509 people (and growing) got together to help a young man at the end of his life give his mother one less thing to worry about. The average donation was $25, but some were $20, some were $100, each giving what they could, which took the mountain of a $25,000 need and turned into proverbial mole-hill. If everyone who gave $20 thought their smaller donation wouldn’t make a difference, they wouldn’t have made their goal.
I was already on my kick when I saw it, so I made my donation and plugged it into my new spreadsheet along with the other three signs of support.
- (RED) – Aids awareness/support
- (Komen 3Day) – Supporting friend who’s walking the walk
- (Alex) – Fundraiser for terminal patient’s funeral costs
- (Sandra) Fundraiser for a good friend fighting cancer
Next month there’ll be more of a balance between art and health, but this month it seemed fitting to focus on creating some kind of balance in my c-world. I’ll peruse the crowdfunding sites like Rockethub, Indiegogo, Kickstarter and GiveForward to name a few and invest a little in other people’s dreams while striving to reach my own, because every time I do, I feel just a little less alone, a little more empowered, maybe heroic even. C’mon, let’s do it. Let’s make 2016 the year for being heroes.
That’s my New Year’s resolution sorted. Now, to figure out what heroes should make for dinner…
P.S. – Get screened.
P.S.S. – Within a week of writing this, actors Alan Rickman and Dan Haggerty (Grissy Adams) died from cancer, so
P.S.S.S. – Fer fkssake, go get screened~