Honestly I have no idea why I’m still alive today. It’s kind of a weird question. It makes me think about the difference between determinism and free will. If our lives are pre-determined, I supposed I’m still alive because I haven’t reached the end of my path yet. If our lives and deaths are created by our free will, then I’m alive because I haven’t killed myself, and so far I’ve been successful in taking the necessary precautions to escape death.
I’m not really sure which theory is the actual truth, and I’m pretty sure nobody else knows either. I tend not to believe in determinism, but who knows? If it’s in my power, then I do what I can to avoid death by avoiding disease and unsafe situations. If it’s not in my power, then I guess my efforts are futile, and whatever will be will be.
Every action we take creates a ripple effect that leads us down another path. I read a book once that was all about this topic and whether or not it was possible to have parallel realities (each being different depending on the different choices we make and on the paths those choices lead us down). It’s called One by Richard Bach.
I can only remember one time in my life when I actually thought I was going to die. It was when I hung from the Triboro Bridge in NYC for Greenpeace to protest ocean dumping of toxic sludge. I need to write a separate entry about my experiences while working for Greenpeace. But during that action, we were suspended from climbing ropes above the East River for about nine hours. The police shut down the bridge and there were police cars all over the bridge and police boats in the water. A special operations helicopter flew underneath us with its lights off, which easily could have killed us. That was scary. I also remember when the police at the top of my rope threatened to cut my rope and put frog men in the water to fish me out. I looked up and saw police alongside my support people, and I looked down and saw divers in suits with inflatable boats. I started doing the math in my head, falling close to 150 ft. with climbing rope all around me into “hell’s gate” of the East River. I wondered if I would die on impact or drown in the river coiled up in rope as the current sucked me down and spit me out downstream. The action coordinators on the ground handled things perfectly, communicating over radio that we were receiving live international news coverage, and if they cut our ropes they would be killing up to thirteen activists on live television. The police did the right thing, didn’t cut our ropes, instead they gave us each an extra safety rope! So, in that instance I owe my life to Dave Hollister who coordinated and managed the entire action and to Scott Stoodley who protected my ropes and anchors and dealt with the police. Thank you Dave and Scott! Here is a picture (I’m the climber farthest to the right):
In hindsight, there were other times I was very vulnerable and could have been killed, but wasn’t. I lived outdoors in Colorado for a year and a half, and when I was in college I camped outdoors all the time. Luckily, no crazy killers found me.
As an adult, I strive to take care of my health and stay fit to prevent disease. I firmly believe you are what you eat, and I have a weird relationship with foods because of all my allergies/intolerances. I avoid wheat, corn, sugar, and eggs. Although it’s difficult to eat so clean in our society, it’s worth it because I feel better and when I go to the doctor they tell me they never see numbers so healthy in my age group. And then they ask me what’s my secret. And I tell them, I eat right and exercise. Duh! It seems so simple, but it’s difficult to sustain on a day to day basis.
I believe I’m still alive because I take care of myself and make safe choices in my adult life. I believe I’m still alive because I’ve gotten lucky in averting death in the past when there was an opportunity. I hope to live to be one hundred years old, and I hope to have a long healthy live with my family! My kids sure need their mommy, so I’m thankful for having the most important job in the whole world.