Saturday, August 24, 2013

Saturday, August 24, 2013

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn't do than by the ones you did. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”
I taped this Mark Twain quote to the inside of our bathroom closet door because Bing had liked it, bowlines and winds in sails and all.  One twilight during our memorable J-World cruising certification week on the Chesapeake Bay, I cracked as he and I shared the helm, "Look, dear, we're sailing into the sunset together."  Every time I looked at this quote, I remembered the hearty laugh I got out of him and our instructor, Dick.

As the High Point Academy calendars and Poly reminders went up and down next to it, the paper yellowed and the tape brittled.  When the door was about to disappear during the complete bathroom remodel last fall, I realized I didn't need to look at that dusty scrap of paper to remember that happy sunset moment, and, as Bing had wanted, I have been doing things instead of regretting not doing things, if you get my grammar and Mark Twain-ish thinking.  

You faithful followers of this blog have noticed that I’ve slowed way down on the postings.  I have been trying to decide what to do with "Wing on Wing." Truth be told, I’ve been too busy, which I offer up as good corroboration that I’ve regained my old energy levels.  I’ve been amazed at how much better I’ve continued to feel as the IgM level has slowly, surely, miraculously dropped and dropped and dropped.  The corollary is that it is scary to admit to myself how crummy I have felt for, well, years.  As I re-wind the tape in my head, I now recognize that I was experiencing WM symptoms long before my diagnosis almost exactly three years ago.

This coming Wednesday I will have my 26th treatment.  26th. Who could have imagined this grind?  Actually, I don’t think even my doctors could have imagined this, because statistically, patients either would have responded way better way faster, or, honestly, would have been dead by now.   I’ll see what my numbers are like with this next batch of tests, but certainly I’m grateful, relieved, and sobered to be beating the odds.  

Here’s what I've been busy doing.  This past week, I’ve been transitioning out of my associate dean responsibilities and into a just-created associate director position with a fast-growing USC Dornsife academic and research enterprise, the USC Spatial Sciences Institute.  As of the Tuesday after Labor Day, I’ll be running the institute with its director, a professor with whom I’ve worked closely and well for a number of years through an intertwined real estate development, urban planning, and geography past.  

The director first proposed the idea to me last summer, and I said no.  I was still filled with uncertainties then.  Over the holidays, I started feeling more positively about everything – maybe it was the delight over how well the master bath remodel turned out?  In any event, my very first meeting in January when the university re-opened after the holidays was with this director, and as we were waiting for our appointment to arrive, I felt that familiar prompt that the right thing to do was to cast off the bowlines.  While we waited for our appointment (who never arrived – I wonder why), the director and I started figuring out the details of this job, which I can best describe as a mash-up of my Lusk Center, ULI, and associate dean roles.  The director realized before I did that I was doing alot of this job any way.  I’ve never felt so secure about a job change before and able to hit the ground running. 

So Wednesday’s treatment has become something to get through so I can get back to planning the new era of the Spatial Sciences Institute.  As with all things USC, I have a new tee-shirt to wear, and am feeling new wind filling my sails.

This summer I had wondered if the time had come to wrap “Wing on Wing,” but I guess not. Many of you have said to me to keep writing.  So if you’re willing to keep checking in, I sense there’s more I’m about to explore, and dream, and discover.

P.S. Akemi, age 8, in her Sabot at the dock of Alamitos Bay Yacht Club

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