This day has had meant different things to me over the years. First, accomplishment from what I have overcome, to sadness at what I have lost – even despair at what was ahead of me. As I approached the 18th anniversary of the event that changed my life, I realized that I wasn’t sure what it would mean to me this year. As a consequence, I had no idea how to approach writing about it. For several days I have stared at a blank page on the word processor of my laptop. It began to haunt me, the empty white pixels dancing in front of my face at night when I tried to sleep. It became a dragon that I had to slay. That image, the dragon, finally made it clear what I have to say today. The dragons that prowl the dark reaches of our mind are real enough, but only because we give existence to them with the awesome, and sometimes frightening, power of a blank page.
Think about the power of a blank page. It is empty, yet infinite at the same time. New worlds can be created, intricate designs drawn, whatever you want to do. That very same potential is what is sometimes frightening. Think about the times you have faced a decision of what to put on an empty page. Of course there are the essays and term papers in school, but look deeper than that. What if you want to follow your dreams, but to do so you have to take yourself out of your comfort zone? That’s a blank page waiting to be filled and, just like a dragon, it will take courage to face.
Most people do as I have so often done. You fill the blank pages with words that others expect you to write. It’s the safe way of avoiding the dragon. But then a few years go by, and one day you realize that you have filled pages and pages with words that were not your own. Let me tell you from experience, that’s a totally different sort of monster to deal with. Fill your page with your words. Inevitably, you will cringe at some of the things you wrote in the past. These are important, for they teach you lessons that are impossible to learn any other way,
Yes, my life was changed on February 1st, 2002. But I can say that about many days. My goal from here forward is to write my story, rather than let my story write me. And that dragon? I don’t fight him anymore, and I don’t hide from him either. He is a part of my story, but only a small part. February 1st, 2020 finds me in a different state and married to the woman of my dreams. I have pages and pages of words to write. There is no time for dragons.