Inspiration

sign 1I had a rough day yesterday with lots of stomach issues, which serve as a reminder of what I am dealing with. It can get me down sometimes, but I try to push through. People often ask me where I derive inspiration. Below is my top ten inspiration list.

10. Books: If you all recall, I listed my top ten inspirational books here.

9. Friends: My blog doesn’t give me a good way to reply to your blog comments, but I read them all and derive strength from them.

8. Quotes: I am adding an “Inspiration Store,” to the top of the blog header. I want to highlight the very cool quotes and sayings that my wife sells as part of her Uppercase Living collection. Their motto is, “Live a Life Inspired,” and that is what both of us are trying to do each day.

  1. Film: In an upcoming post I will list my top ten movies. When you have a lot of time to keep your mind busy, you can watch a lot of movies.
  1. Poetry: I can’t get enough Rumi, Rilke and Whitman. Poetry is easily consumable and in short pieces which is good for my ADD.
  1. YouTube Videos: Watch this video.
  1. Writing: I love to write. As I mentioned, I am working on a book, and I love to write this blog.
  1. Silence and Meditation: I’ve been a meditation guy for over a decade. I love to just sit in total contemplation. I’m not looking to gain anything beyond peace.
  1. Nature: Wild places provide the right kind of solitude for the soul.
  1. Family: My wife, children, mom, brother, sister, and in-laws have been my strength. I rely on them to not only function, but to thrive.

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PS: Special thanks to all of you who have been sharing my latest posts on Facebook and twitter. It’s really helped this blog reach a massive readership. (almost 2000 subscribers in just a few months).

You can subscribe to e-mail updates HERE

A Visit to the Funeral Home

geisel homeThis week we visited Geisel’s Funeral Home to make all my final plans. The fierce hope decision to go ahead with this wasn’t connected to any specific health changes. But for anyone facing a terminal diagnosis, it makes sense to get these plans taken care of now while I still can.

I also saw my decision to do this as a gift to Amy. The last thing I want to do is stick her with a ton of decisions on the worst day of her life. I figured if I could get all of these details set up, we could finally stop focusing on my death and start focusing on living. After my talk with hospice, this was the last meeting like this I needed to have.

I was so pleased with how it went. The person we worked with, Sharon Jacobs, was just amazing. The way she handled my unique situation was first class. It was liberating to get things all set up. She displayed grace and understanding throughout our entire visit.

I must admit however, going to a funeral home and setting up your own arrangements puts you in a very introspective place. My goal was to set up a celebration of my life. I was determined that it wouldn’t be a big, dark, depressing affair. I have lived such an incredibly full life.

I have truly lived. In some ways, I have lived more in any one year than some folks have lived in entire lifetimes. I’ve never been afraid to embrace life. Even during this final chapter, I don’t want to miss a thing. Not one detail will be overlooked. Life is so rich for me right now. I am seeing the world in high-definition and full dynamic range. I am walking everyday. I stand in parks with my arms out wide. I look up and thank God for the clouds. Every cell in my body wants to soak up living while I can.

In fact, I want to recommend a great life-testing technique I read about several years ago. Sit down and write your own obituary. Don’t write it for today. Write it for 30 or 50 years from today. Fill it full of all the incredible things you still plan to do in life. It can serve as a powerful roadmap to follow your heart and dreams!

With Fierce Hope,

Jim

FullSizeRenderPS: Special thanks to all of you who have been sharing my latest posts on Facebook and twitter. It’s really helped this blog reach a massive readership. (almost 2000 subscribers in just a few months).

You can subscribe to e-mail updates HERE

10 Things I Fear – Fierce Hope

I’ve been told how open and brave this blog is. In the interest of national colon cancer awareness day, I wanted to share the deep fears I’ve had since finding out I have end-stage cancer.

galss frog

  1. Above all, I fear not seeing my children grow up. If my terminal diagnosis has taught me anything, it is to enjoy each moment. But those moments aren’t enough. Last night I saw a young girl talking about visiting college campuses with her dad and it really hit me. The shear volume of those moments that I will miss is astounding.
  1. I fear leaving Amy alone. My wife and I have a love that has lasted 17 years of ups and downs. I shudder at the idea of her being without me.
  1. I fear pain. When I was in the hospital with pneumonia when I got my diagnosis, I endured some of the worst pain and moments of my life. I had a terrible time with being intubated. It was like a long and inescapable nightmare that stretched into infinity.
  1. I fear that my children will forget me. Our twins, Hannah and Alison are 6 years old. I don’t remember anything from that age. Enough said.
  1. I fear heaven. That may sound odd, but no perfect place can exist that separates me from my family. I find the entire idea very unsatisfying. I don’t want to be hanging out on clouds with a bunch of angels. I want to be with my family in a real and living way. Not “with” them in just a spiritual sense.
  1. I fear I will give up. I’ve been congratulated many times for my strength, but few know how much I want to give up. The chemo makes me miserable and the idea of dumping it is attractive. The only thing stopping me is it seems to be working. If I thought for a moment it wasn’t, I’d be done.
  1. I fear missing the future. Sometimes I wake in the middle of the night and think about future events. The prospect of missing the “unknown” means I could pass away a few years before they cure my cancer. It’s a terrifying prospect.
  1. I fear hospice. This may have been a bad idea, but I spent several weeks after my diagnosis reading about what happens to the body as cancer of the organs shuts it down. It was grim and clinical and I don’t look forward to experiencing it at 42.
  1. I fear I won’t finish my projects. I’ve been writing a book. It’s hard to focus on these meds, but I keep pushing.
  1. Lastly, I fear the silence that will take the place of my life. A deep still silence around everything that I am. Everything that I’ve done. Everything that I own. Just the stillness of non-existence.

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PS: Special thanks to all of you who have been sharing my latest posts on Facebook and twitter. It’s really helped this blog reach a massive readership. (almost 2000 subscribers in just a few months).

You can subscribe to e-mail updates HERE

Jim’s Top 10 Inspirational Books

National Colon Cancer Awareness Day is on Friday, March 6th.  Since my blog is meant to be inspirational, I wanted to list my most inspirational books for everyone, listed in reverse order. My favorite book for Fierce Hope readers is book #1 etc.

 

  1. Switch: How to Change Things When Change Is Hard by Chip and Dan Heath

Why is it so hard to make lasting changes? I love the way Dan and Chip answer that question.

  1. New and Selected Poems, Volume One by Mary Oliver

My favorite nature poems! Mary Oliver’s perceptive, brilliantly crafted poems about the natural landscape and the fundamental questions of life and death.

8. Die Empty: Unleash Your Best Work Every Day by Todd Henry

“Embrace the importance of now, and refuse to allow the lull of comfort, fear, familiarity, and ego to prevent you from taking action on your ambitions…The cost of inaction is vast. Don’t go to your grave with your best work inside of you. Choose to die empty.”

  1. David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits, and the Art of Battling Giants by Malcolm Gladwell

Malcolm Gladwell challenges how we think about obstacles and disadvantages, offering a new interpretation of what it means to be discriminated against, or cope with a disability, or lose a parent, or attend a mediocre school, or suffer from any number of other apparent setbacks.

  1. The Icarus Deception: How High Will You Fly? by Seth Godin

Another book that changed the game for me. Icarus was warned not to fly too low, because seawater would ruin the lift in his wings. Flying too low is even more dangerous than flying too high, because it feels deceptively safe.

  1. Letters to a Young Poet by Rainer Maria Rilke

Can’t miss this book! Rilke’s timeless letters about poetry, sensitive observation, and the complicated workings of the human heart.

  1. 177 Mental Toughness Secrets of the World Class: The Thought Processes, Habits and Philosophies of the Great Ones by Steve Siebold

Is it possible for a person of average intelligence and modest means to ascend to the throne of the world class? The answer is YES!

  1. Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action by Simon Sinek

This book changed my career forever. “A powerful and penetrating exploration of what separates great leaders from the rest.”

  1. Spiritual Enlightenment The Damnedest Thing

This book is a great place to start with the “big questions” in life. Not for the faint of heart. This book changed my entire life.

  1. The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch

This book is my inspiration for the work I do now.

With Fierce Hope,

Jim

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PS: Special thanks to all of you who have been sharing my latest posts on Facebook and twitter. It’s really helped this blog reach a massive readership. (almost 2000 subscribers in just a few months). Don’t forget to wear your Fierce Hope shirts (or anything blue) on Friday and tag Amy and I in your selfies!  Hope to do another video to thank our supporters soon!

You can subscribe to e-mail updates HERE

sleeping fierce hopeYes, a morbid title, but I realized with fierce hope that today was the 6 month mark since my diagnosis and it is also the amount of time that medical professionals said I would live without chemotherapy. A lot of people in my situation opt-out of chemo. The reason being that Dr.’s tell us that I have a 0% chance of it curing me. People figure, “if I’m a goner anyway, why suffer?” This line of thinking was pretty appealing to me. The idea of pumping yourself full of poison just to live a little longer does seem kind of silly.

However, when I look back at my health condition when I started chemo, there is no way I would have made it even three months. I was in awful shape. My tumors were exploding in number and size at the time. I was VERY sick.

So here I am, six months later and lots of chemo has been pumped into me. I’ve gained almost 20 pounds, kept all my hair, and feel much better save a few days a month where I feel terrible due to the chemo. Maybe this stuff is working. The real test will be in March when I have another scan. If by some miracle they switch my status from “non-surgical” to “surgical” I am going to be one happy dude. Surgery won’t mean I can be cured, but it will add up to more time alive. Like they say in the film “The Big Lebowski” until then “the dude abides.”

How lucky am I to even be walking around like this? It’s amazing to me. But it also makes me greedy for more. I want more time, more items off my bucket list and more meaningful projects completed, and of course, more time with my family. I want it all. I am hungry for life. I want to experience everything before its too late.

My senses are sharpened. I am seeing the world in high definition for the first time. I’m noticing things I never noticed before. I feel like some kind of cancer patient superhero. Having this happen to me has caused me to wake up to the world that’s been around me all this time. I thought I was aware of it, but I was missing all of it. I’m not just talking about the trips to Disney World or family visits. I’m talking about the little things every day. Even the pain, nausea, and discomfort are better than being dead and gone. Give me life any day.

In fact, in honor of reaching my “death day,” I’ve decided to clean up my bucket list a bit. I enjoy ranking all the things I want to do. It gives me purpose and causes me to make deliberate choices. Thank you to everyone who helped me check off so many items with well-wishes, donations, prayers, love and gift cards. We are making meaningful memories and thanks are the best we can do.

 

PS: Special thanks to all of you who have been sharing my latest posts on Facebook and twitter. It’s really helped this blog reach a massive readership. (almost 2000 subscribers in just a few months)

You can subscribe to e-mail updates HERE

with Fierce Hope

Jim

little jim

awardpicMy 6 year old daughter, Alison was just named “Student of the Week” for her school. When asked how she earned the award, she told her grandpa it was for “being kind and stuff.” We all laughed. This is how a six year old sees it. In fact, her teacher wrote an amazing description of the way she is in school and she earned it for a number of admirable reasons.

After thinking about it for a while, I started to wonder. Why can’t “being kind and stuff” be enough? Here’s the thing; she is kind. But not like we think of it. She is kind in a way only an open and unguarded six year old can be kind. Alison has grace.

If I’ve learned one thing while battling terminal cancer, it is that grace is not a destination. It’s not an object. It’s not a noun. Instead, grace is a means “of travel.” Grace: a strategy for engaging the world. Grace is a “how,” not a “what.”

Grace is a choice we make before we ever pick up our iPhone or walk into a restaurant to have lunch with friends. Grace occurs in the quiet moments before we speak or act in the world. Alison knows that. She may not say it like I do, but she doesn’t need to. She’s already got it.

 

Other Updates

FullSizeRenderI spent last week visiting with my sister, brother, and mom in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. This was also my first week on the new drug that I requested be added to my chemo regimen. That along with a few other drug changes had me feeling very nauseous 24/7. So, I returned feeling disappointed that I couldn’t spend much quality time with them. My wife reminded me that the doctors told us when our girls spent 64 days in the NICU that it would be like a roller coaster. We would have many ups and downs. Cancer is much the same. That roller coaster idea had me awake a lot last night. The reason is that last station for the NICU roller coaster was a triumphant walk out of the front door of the hospital. The last station for a person with incurable cancer is death. What I do each day the moment my feet hit the floor in the morning is a say a little prayer of thank you. I just say, “thank you for giving me one more day.”

I do think it is impossible to “live every moment to the fullest.” Even with a death sentence hanging over your head, you just naturally slip into moments of fear or despair. Instead of trying to live an unattainable cliché, I like to say that I am better at recognizing the important moments, and I live those to the fullest. Much like the earlier roller coaster analogy, I recognize when I am in an upward swing and I act to seize that for everything that it’s worth. Simple things like going to the mall with my wife on a day that I am feeling good is an example of making my days count.

Each of us has four or five critical moments in every day that we live. Maybe it’s a moment a child asks us a question. Perhaps it’s a moment among trees and songbirds just before we walk into work. It doesn’t matter. What matters is figuring out what those moments are, and living them with our fullest abilities. Another person’s life-course may turn on an offhanded comment we make. I encourage anyone to find those moments and shine. And don’t forget to “be kind and stuff.”

 

With Fierce Hope,

Jim

 

P.S. A huge thank you to everyone who purchased a fierce hope t-shirt and shared selfies on Facebook. It really lifted my spirits during a rough week. My sister Jen helped us out by extending the t-shirt campaign for those people who asked if they could still purchase one. Use this link if you’d still like to order. The last day to order is February 18th so that they will arrive in time for Colon Cancer Awareness day on March 6th. I’d love to see all of those selfies posted again on that day. Thank you so much for your continued support and love!

little jim

vowsConsidering so many of my past blog posts have been bleak on the medical side, I am so happy to write this today. Before we get to the medical update, I want to report on one of the best weeks of my entire life. My mom generously offered her condo and car in Florida for Amy and I to get away together. On top of that, my amazing mother-in-law, father-in-law, and sister-in-law made room in their lives for a full week to watch our three daughters back home. Also, my Uncle Jack and Aunt Shirley shuttled us to and from the airport and even took us out for an amazing dinner.

So, we went down to West Palm Beach and South Beach Miami and had the most romantic getaway. We renewed our vows framed by the ocean. It was 81 degrees and sunny almost every day of our visit. As many of you know, money is super tight with my being unable to work right now. Your gifts have been so generous and have helped sustain us as a family, so we knew we had to use our ingenuity, and we relied on a ton of free stuff from a hotel in Miami who knew my medical situation to pull this entire thing off. My next blog post goes into more detail about the Surfcomber hotel that we stayed at and how they hooked us up with the VIP treatment.

But as for today, I just want to say that renewing my vows with the woman I married 16 years ago has given me so much more energy and will to live. I have to survive this cancer. Things are just too good for me right now. Even as I battle the chemo (I was up vomiting for 8 hours all Sunday night), strangely enough, lying on the cold bathroom floor, I was still flooded with obvious reasons to be grateful. I get out of bed early enough to have breakfast with my kids. I watch them. I think about their future. I’m blessed. I was chosen for this. I am choosing to embrace this situation not as a tragedy but as my birthright. I was born to endure all this. It’s changing me.

One of my all-time favorite documentaries is a film called “General Orders No. 9.” It is wonderfully narrated and contemplative in style (think director Terry Malick). It is a masterpiece. I call it, “R. Maria Rilke meets Joseph Campbell.” While I don’t consider myself over-the-top religious, my life and my struggle with this illness does remind me of a Book of Job-like quote from that film…

The Lord loves a broken spirit. Pray that we are well broken…

If interested, you can check out the film trailer HERE

So, now for some good medical news! My doctor let slip an incredible bit of information during my visit yesterday. He said, “Since starting treatments, your blood’s tumor markers are declining in a nice downward slope.” Amy and I knew something must have been going on. I am finally getting some energy back. I continue to eat and gain weight magnificently. But since my terminal and incurable diagnosis in August, this happens to be the very first sliver of good news we’ve ever gotten. That’s the equivalent to a four-month crossing of a desert of bad news. All else was terrifying. All else was hopeless. Yesterday was a happy day and I couldn’t wait to rush to share it with you all, my beloved friends and supporters. Not to say that I am out of the woods or I don’t have bad days, but we will take every bit of good news that comes our way.

While it isn’t a cure by any means, it shows I am making some kind of progress, and that my insistence on the additional medicines and all the horrible side effects may not be in vain. I’ve got the tiger by the tail; I do not intend to release him.

With Fierce Hope,

Jim

PS: Special thanks to all of you who have been sharing my latest posts on Facebook and twitter. It’s really helped this blog reach a massive readership. (almost 2000 subscribers in just a few months)

You can subscribe to e-mail updates HERE

little jim

daddy gals2I get asked a lot about my medical situation. I’m not a doctor so most of this post is translated into my own terms so all my pals who are doctors and nurses I’m sure will cringe, lol.

But I wanted to update everyone on where things stand right now. The last two scans I had of my liver happened in August and October. As many of you remember, the growth rate of my tumors was pretty explosive in just those two months (pre-chemotherapy) so that is why we got aggressive treatment right away. I have another scan of my liver they will do either at the end of February or early March. The hope is that we’ve slowed the speedy growth and number of new tumors substantialy at that point.

We asked our doctors the classic, “how much time do I have?” question and they said they are always hesitant to answer that because everyone’s body is different. We were told in Tahoe that the best I could expect would be about 2 years, but the docs at Hershey aren’t saying much. So we are stuck with statistical results that others have had with my treatment. Without chemotherapy, people with my level of stage 4 colon cancer have a survival expectancy of roughly 6-8 months. When you add chemo, life expectancy jumps to about 15 months. However, we will be adding the drug Avastin to my routine at the end of January. Avastin may bring with it more extreme side effects (no fun), but it also statistically alters life expectancy up to 21 months. But liver surgery is the ultimate goal.

Right now I am not a candidate to have any part of my liver surgically removed. If by some miracle the chemo drugs shrink my tumors enough, I will then be able to have surgery which may extend my life a bit more. Keep in mind, all of my treatments are still palliative (end of life) and not curative, a fact that the doctors are all too quick to remind us. They are designed to keep me alive longer and that is a good thing.

A few people have asked why I am not a candidate for a liver transplant. From what I understand, once the cancer gets out into my body and metastasizes (like it has for me), the likelihood of it reappearing even in a new liver is very high.

allyI’ve also had some questions about if the cancer has spread to my lungs. That is very common for my type of cancer, and I did have a bunch of lesions on my lungs when they last checked them. They did a cytology test on my lungs during my colon surgery in which they basically put saline into my lungs and then pulled it back out to check the cells.  The way they explained it to us is to think of the lungs as a tree.  The “branches” look o.k. but that doesn’t mean that there can’t be something wrong with the “leaves.”  From what they can tell, the cancer has not colonized my lung tissue yet. I do suffer from terrible lung pain and chest numbness, but the doctors seem to think that is all just left over from scar tissue resulting from my lung surgeries and chest tubes that I had this summer.

So, that’s where I am medically at this time.  The chemo side effects vary each time and some get worse each time.  I’ve learned how to manage them and find I have my best days about a week after chemo.  It makes going back the following week difficult, but I know I need it to fight this beast.

On a lighter note, Amy and I are planning on going down to Florida to use my mom’s condo in West Palm Beach to get a little sun and sand. We didn’t get much romantic time when we all went to Disney since Amy was in “mommy mode” the entire time. And honestly, I just love the beach and want this chance to stick my feet in the ocean one more time.   We can’t wait to get away a little and we may even renew our vows on the beach if we can get it all worked out.

shirt imageI wanted to thank my sister for her t-shirt sale she’s re-started to help us.

People seem to love their shirts and I really enjoy seeing people wearing their shirts in Facebook pics! Keep sharing your pics and tagging us, and stay tuned for a day in February when we will all wear them and post them to Facebook to raise awareness for colon cancer.

 

I hope everyone had a great New Years!

PS: Special thanks to all of you who have been sharing my latest posts on Facebook and twitter. It’s really helped this blog reach a massive readership. (almost 2000 subscribers in just a few months)

You can subscribe to e-mail updates HERE

With Fierce Hope,

Jim

little jim

babySix years ago we got a lesson in the power of Fierce Hope.

Long before my struggle with cancer or any of the events of this last year, my wife and I spent 64 days of hell with our twins clinging to life in the neonatal intensive care unit. On more than one occasion I got the “look” from a nurse or doctor that one twin was simply not going to make it much longer. I’m not exaggerating when I say it was a moment-to-moment battle for a while.

Before I go into more detail, I would ask you to watch this short video I made at the time about it.

See video below

Our struggle started before their birth, as Amy explains below in an excerpt from our Care Pages.

Amy – “From the moment we found out we were expecting twins, this pregnancy and birth has been a wild ride. We were referred to the perinatologists at Maternal Fetal Medicine in Harrisburg at 26 weeks because there was a significant size difference in our twins. The doppler scans revealed some other concerns with our little Alison. We started getting the ultrasound scans twice a week to keep an eye on things.

preemie twinsTwo days before Christmas, I was admitted to the hospital for high blood pressure and to check for preeclampsia. I got to leave the hospital on Christmas Eve and we spent Christmas with my family at my sister’s house in Harrisburg. Three days later, my water broke and I headed to the hospital again. My water had only broken around Alison so they started me on a Magnesium sulfate drip to stop contractions and to give the girls some extra time in the womb. On January 2nd, I started having some stronger and more regular contractions. Each time they tried to track them with the monitor, however, they slowed down so the Dr.’s did not feel that I was in labor. Boy were they wrong! After continuing with strong contractions through the day on January 3, I started to feel that something wasn’t right. In the evening I got up to use the restroom and could feel one of the babies pushing down with lots of pressure in the birth canal. They called the Dr. and confirmed that labor had started. Since they knew that Alison was breech and she was not strong enough to endure labor they rushed me down the hall for an emergency C-section. It turns out that Alison’s leg was indeed in the birth canal and that is
what I felt. The whole process felt very much like ER with Dr.s and nurses running down the hall pulling on their scrubs. They had me prepped and under anesthesia in what felt like 2 minutes. It was probably best because I was very scared. They tell me that Jim was very brave and calm and sat with me throughout the surgery. Alison Elizabeth was born at 8:51 PM and weighed 1 pound 12 ounces. Hannah Mae was born at 8:53 and weighed 3 pounds 11 ounces. They took them both straight to the NICU and so our journey begins as parents of preemies.”

ross girls nowAnd a journey it has been.  During their 64 day hospital stay, Hannah had two chest tubes to help her breathe. Alison struggled with maintaining her body temp and feeding issues. When they finally came home they were on apnea monitors for another 2 months. Alison had double inguinal hernia surgery and Hannah had tear duct surgery in the months following their discharge. Alison battled with pneumonia and continued to have feeding trouble at home. Hannah used an inhaler until she turned a year old. They got physical and occupational therapy until they were 2 ½ and Alison continued feeding therapy until she was 3.  In the grand scheme of things, they are doing amazingly well for being born 10 weeks early.  Alison still has some sensory and eating issues but we know how to deal with them.  They are both thriving in kindergarten.  We are incredibly blessed.

On their 6th birthday we reflect back on all that they have overcome, and how their crash landing into our world made us stronger parents and taught us how to rely on each other.  We draw on that strength once again, as I fight my current battle with this cancer.  After watching them fight to survive, I just have to stick around to watch them grow and flourish.  Happy 6th birthday to my sweet little baby girls.

 

With Fierce Hope,

Jim (with some help from Amy on this one)

little jim

flyawayMy 10 New Year’s Resolutions

1. I will survive – Starting the year 2015 with terminal cancer in my colon, liver, and possibly metastasizing elsewhere makes living through this entire year a high priority.

2. I will inspire others – As I’ve mentioned, I am working on a book project that I think is pretty special. I can’t wait to share it with the world in 2015. As a blog bonus, at the bottom of this post is an Amazon window with my top ten favorite inspirational books in it.

3. I will see the poetry around me – All of us are swimming in a sea of visual poetry. The way light bounces off the edges of buildings. The way the tops of trees quiver imperceptibly with early promises of spring. I want to start my year by seeing more of that world. I want to become better at translating the messages that world offers us.

(About blog photo: I took this photo of my daughter playing. I took the shot with an experimental lens on my iPhone with the hipstamatic app, I just thought it had an other-worldly feel)

4. I will listen to people - This one is straight forward. I want to listen to people completely and with full attention. That means putting my iPhone down and looking at my kids when they speak to me.

5. I will break rules - All of us form unconscious boundaries within our minds. These boundaries go unnoticed and shape our decisions. I want to crash through those walls this year.

6. I will think with my body – Yes, this sounds a bit “new age-ish,” but, I do believe the body has its own capacity to think (like thinking from your gut.) I want to work to improve and explore that technique this year.

7. I will say “no” more – The happiest people I know are good at just saying “no” to people. We all want to please each other so much that we can find ourselves adrift in an ocean of half-fulfilled obligations that we never intended to do in the first place. A clean, “no,” is a gift to the other person as well. You are saying, “I don’t have time to respectfully complete this task for you.”

8. I will daydream - This isn’t some Carpe Diem BS statement. I’m talking about some old-school daydreams that have the power to send my life in bold and dangerous new directions.

9. I will love my old self – Regretting the person I used to be is an insidious poison that works in my marrow to strangle any self-growth I could hope for. “Old Jim” made a lot of bad choices. I used to drink a lot and wasted decades on video games and wallowing in self-judgement. But if I don’t find a way to go back and love that guy and forgive him, I will be wasting precious hours and days. The poison will remain.

10. I will say goodbye – No way around the fact that I may not see 2016 (at least according to the doctors). If I beat the odds, GREAT! But I also know enough not to plan on that. I want to spend the early part of this year saying goodbye to all of my loved ones while I am still healthy enough to do so. A proper goodbye has incalculable value, and that will start with my wife and three amazing little girls. I want to stay with them forever but when I read about people dying tragically and abruptly I worry about the fact that they never had an opportunity to say goodbye.

With Fierce Hope for the New Year,

Jim

PS. Below is an amazon window to my top ten favorite inspirational books. I know I’ve missed a bunch of good ones, but I recommend these for sure.