Monday, November 23, 2009

Musings on a Birthday Week

If I had known earlier that at age 28 I would need a lung transplant . . .

I might have appreciated all those summer hikes and winter ski trips that my parents "dragged" me on in the Colorado Rockies throughout my childhood, instead of whining about sore feet or cold fingers;

I might have played a little harder, or laughed a little louder at the really silly, ridiculous, little things like that time that my friends and I dressed up as "fashion models" and took homemade glamour shots in my bedroom with my tiny little pink camera (and I might even have saved some of the pictures);

I might have been surprised to know that one of my fondest memories now, living life in the biggest city in the country, is of lying outside in tiny little Oxford, GA (after driving at 3am to get there), looking up at a total universe of stars, watching a meteor shower with two of my best friends, and wondering how it was even possible for there to be that much light and that much enjoyment even in the middle of the night;

I might not have fought so much with my sister over nothing, because that was a total. waste. of. breath. (in every sense of the word);

I might have sung along even louder at all of those Indigo Girls and Dave Matthews Band and U2 and Elton John with Billy Joel and Bob Dylan and Ben Harper concerts that I went to throughout college (and yes, even one embarrassing but very fun Backstreet Boys show);

I would have really, really savored that road trip from Berkeley to Denver, even the stop off in Vegas and the stay at (where else?) New York, New York Casino;

I totally wouldn't have changed a single thing about that trip to Greece after the NY Bar Exam, especially not that strawberry moonshine we drank on that final night in Athens, or the restaurant with the view of the Parthenon at sunset, or the donkey ride through the streets of Santorini, or even that stupid mountain I was "forced" to climb on Delos to get to that bunch of scattered rocks (whoops, I mean, "awesome ruins");

I would have fallen on my knees in gratitude for the greater plan when I met Sammy back in 2008, because who could handle waiting for lungs without a live-in best friend to keep you company?;

I would have rocked every pastel-colored bridesmaid dress I've ever been asked to wear (you know, more than I already did totally rock them, of course);

I would definitely have used that "Welcome to Graceland" keychain with the ridiculous picture of my sister and me with the fake Elvis on it (I'll give you two guesses as to which of us was sporting a full-on crop top -- hint: Erin has better taste than I do!) and I would have laughed every time I got in my car or opened my apartment door;

I might have realized earlier just how amazingly connected we all are, and I might have had the foresight to treat every stranger I met like someone who might save my life someday with an indescribable gift;

I would like to say that I would have cherished these lungs for all they've been worth to me for the past 28 years, but I know that I was too busy living to truly count each breath, so instead I'll just take a second now to say to these "old" twins: thank you, for all that you are and all that you helped me do. I forgive you for any tantrums you might ever have had, which were, after all, a part of me too;

I might not have changed much, but I sure would have noticed it all a whole lot more.

And now that I know, I can at least take the time to just that. Hopefully for a long, long time to come.


  1. You are such a gifted writer. I am in awe of your description of each moment in this journey. As always, thank you for sharing.

  2. Round of applause for another wonderful post!!!


  3. Happy birthday week! Great post Piper... isn't it interesting how birthdays are a time of reflection when you're waiting for lungs?

  4. It's not even my birthday but you've definitely inspired me to take a look at what's around.

  5. Wonderful post! It reminds me of that Erma Bombeck poem (If I Had My Life to Live Over) about how she would have spent less time worrying about the couch getting dirty and more time having people over to enjoy the couch, etc. :) I love your outlook on life!!!

  6. Know what you can do with those new lungs when you get them? Enjoy every second and every breath that you take! You can make even more wonderful memories!!!

    <3 you cysta!!!

  7. Happy Birthday Piper!

  8. At least the bridesmaid's dress for my wedding wasn't was more of a Pepto Bismol shade. Wait, I don't know if that's better or not. ;) I hope you have a wonderful birthday, my dear!

  9. Piper! Happy Birthday from one who's waiting too! My birthday's coming up too and I have to admit, as much as I want to yell at my cystic lungs for what they're doing now, you're right....(like the slogan)...they've come a long way, baby!..Thank you for old lungs, bring on the new!!
    Take care dear,