Shallow thoughts from an idiot

I thought I’d do more. Be more. Help others. Be more successful.

All in all, when I look back on my life, I feel like I failed. I’m not sure I’d use the word failure, but I might be somewhere close to that. It feels like it.

I can think of plenty of excuses. I won’t list them, as I tell my daughter we are responsible for our own actions. I am responsible for mine. Somehow time went by and I didn’t do what I thought I’d do – amount to what I thought I’d amount to. Not only that, I never took the risks I should have taken. I was so afraid of failure, of making mistakes, of what other people thought of me. It paralyzed me. And I think that lack of taking risks didn’t give me the payoff I probably needed to feel like a success – to be someone that mattered.

Over the years, there were successes. I went back to college and graduated with honors. That was my Everest of self-esteem climbed and no one can take it away from me. I married a brave woman with a heart of gold and we have a daughter we love. We’re doing our best not to screw her up, but it’s not easy most days. Where’s the 365-day calendar telling you how do succeed in raising a child?

Though I have had successes, my expectations were high. I wish I could do it again, but there are no do-overs. I wish I could  say things I’ve said differently, but there is no way to take them back. I wish I had had better relationships earlier in my life and maintained them, but that’s a life lesson I learned late. I wish I didn’t do a lot of the things I did, but I can’t undo them, only try to make up for them.

I wish I didn’t feel like a misfit in a world of normal people who get it.

I have lots of wishes. And I wonder what my life would have been like had I not been born with cystic fibrosis. I wish I could watch the movie of what my life would have been without it. And I fantasize that if I had one wish I would pass up my desire to see my life without the disease. I’d use that wish to cure the disease for everyone with it.

And that’s where my pain comes from. I thought I’d have the life where I’d have the chance for heroic acts like that, to affect a great number of people in a positive way. Oh, well, I’m still the luckiest guy in the room and I have no reason to cry about anything. Life is good. I have to admit it would be better without hemoptysis, but this too shall pass one way or another.

20 thoughts on “Shallow thoughts from an idiot

  1. I’m sure you have and will continue to affect people in a positive way, I know of 2 Brits that you have had a positive affect on with your wit and humour and of course some valuable advice.
    As parents we all worry about screwing up our kids, all we can do is advise and teach them as best we can. 🙂

    • Dude, you and your fellow Brit are born troublemakers and beyond my help. You’re lucky you have such fine women in your house to keep you straight. Otherwise, you’d be causing riots at cricket matches and walking around the streets in your underwear and white shoes with dark socks.

      Your advice on parenting was actually on July 2 of my Parenting calendar. Right after, July 1’s advice never to give them a firearm before they’re five years old.

  2. I know you may not be all that you dreamed, but most of us aren’t. I think you’re a big shot, though… You know, I always wanted to start my own non-profit, but now I realize I don’t have the energy to meet that goal. Fuck CF, right! It does change things.
    I want you to know that you were the one person who helped me realize I needed to change doctors. Your advice was spot on, Since then, with more aggressive treatment, my PFT’s have increased 10% from the baseline they were at for years. I think that qualifies as you helping me in a HUGE way!

    • I do agree with you that CF changes things. I don’t want to use it as an excuse, but I can say my career path would have been different had I not had it.

      I saw your recent post on Dr. Dazzle. What a crush you got going there, Miss Stacey. Hope your husband doesn’t get jealous. I appreciate your comments about changing docs. I think you knew you needed a change. I just nudged you a bit. 🙂 I’m very happy your PFTs are higher. I hope they keep going up.

  3. One of the things I like best about you is your humility. This world of perfection that people try to portray in their life is a farce. The fact that you write so honestly about everything – the harmony and the heartbreak, the perils and the promise – shows that you realize that you are not perfect, you have made mistakes, but you are trying your best to learn from them. Those are rare insights to have nowadays.

    I’m pretty certain (though I could be way off the mark here) that you are as amazed by the amount of readers you have coming to “Parts Unknown” as I am about people coming to read my stuff. Do you know why people come back to our blogs? Because our blogs and other blogs from our fellow CF kindred spirits help others struggling to find hope. You are helping others to be more. To be successful. To be themselves. As I said earlier, we can’t “fix” the past, Unknown. We can only learn from it and do the best we can every, single, day and help others learn from our mistakes. Geez, I sound like one of those Saturday morning TV specials, but it’s the truth….so deal with it.

    You are my favorite CF blogger and thanks to Stacey, CG, and a few others, I’m glad we’ve connected. You’ve helped me to be successful and I appreciate it.

    Now, tell Fox if he doesn’t have my money for those invention ideas, we are going to have to settle things “old school”. I’ll fly out to “Parts Unknown” and cough my poisonous mucus all over him. He’ll melt like the Wicked Witch of the West or in his case…the Flithy Fox of the Forest.

    Peaceful Things

    • Have I make mistakes? Tons. I flog myself with them everyday. These mistakes are the sources for much of my own misery. And yes, I try to learn from them. Not sure I’ve gone a great job.

      I don’t really look at my blog stats anymore. I got to the point where I thought about the quality of my friends and felt that was enough for me. It’s for my daughter anyway. I stopped promoting it. It also helps me try to be as frank as possible.

      Thank you for the kind words about my blogging. Much appreciated. I know it’s only because that orange friend of yours hit you in the head with a rock and now you don’t think straight.

      I wish Fox would actually sell some of the stuff he comes up with. It would make having CF much better.

      As always, thanks for taking the time to write such a detailed comment. You’re the best, even if your Vikings aren’t this year. 🙂

  4. You are a success. A great success and a good person. Make no mistake about it. Sometimes, your purpose is not always as you envision it, but that doesn’t mean that you don’t serve it.

    • Perhaps I am at the job I do, but it’s not the success I thought I’d have or was truly capable of. I’m not sure what my purpose was, and perhaps that is the problem. Thanks for the visit and comment, Melanie.

  5. For shallow thoughts, these are pretty deep! The biggest comment I have is that your life is not be looked back on yet- you are still very much alive and kicking and the saying is true, “youth is wasted on the young.” We all have regrets about our first, say, 30 years- but this is not a reflection on our next 30.

    xxoo, Beth

    • They’re as deep as a plastic wading pool you buy at Target in the half-off bin. Well, I agree it’s not over, but it’s not far from that – or it feels like it isn’t. I definitely think CF is inferring with years where I understand life better than I have in the past, but can’t always act on what I want to do.

      Thanks for the deep comment, which BTW, is way over my head.

  6. You’ve helped me and you’ve helped my daughter. I know you’ve helped many others. You mean a great deal to a great deal of people and that counts for a lot.

    • Margie,

      That’s so nice of you to say. I do appreciate that aspect of the blog. I have been helped in return, especially while in the hospital where I can let off some steam on my blog.

      I hope you and your daughter are doing well. Thanks for the visit and comment.


  7. You eloquently express exactly how I feel. I thought by now I would have been more, done more. I guess I did a lot for someone with CF so I shouldn’t complain. And I bet we all wonder would like would have looked life w/o disease. But I find regrets make me regress.

    I had hoped when I stopped working I’d have time to volunteer and do some meaningful things. That hasn’t worked out. My task now is learning to be content with who and what and where I am. From time to time I hear that I was an encouragement to someone somewhere and that, I think, is what it’s all about.

    You’re doing us all a service, UC. Don’t underestimate it!

    • Hey, MAL,

      I agree with your about regrets. I do my best to sweep them to the back of my mind each day. Sometimes I’m terrible with a broom.

      I think I’m behind you on the path to being content. I’m still struggling a little bit. And it may be due to the transition of the disease.

      Best of holidays to you and thanks, as always, for your insight.

  8. Dear Unknown,
    I’ve been reading you blog for several weeks (when I first started reading, I was kind of shocked to learn that nurses in your hospital kiss their patients good night, so I figured I better start from the beginning to get myself up to date and get things straightened out…the prude in was relieved, i must admit, to get to the bottom of the nurse kisses mystery). For what it’s worth, your writing- eloquent, thoughtful, raw, and often very very funny- helped bring me out of the deep dark hole I had been living in for a few weeks.
    Your post on renaming the various CF meds had me laughing til I peed. I’ve been meaning to thank you for a while now, so I guess it’s about time, huh?
    You don’t know and will probably never know the effect you have had on the lives of others simply by existing. You certainly had an effect on my life, right when I needed it most. So, thank you, truly.

    • I’m so glad you’ve stumbled on to this blog in the middle of nowhere. Welcome. I find it strange that not every hospital has nurses who kiss patients good night. I guess I found the one hospital with kissing nurses, or they do it just for me because I look so attractive and manly in the hospital. I’m not complaining. It’s the highlight of my day in the most twisted Hell I know.

      I am touched by your comment and compliments. It was my pleasure to write something that made you laugh. I take that as the most wonderful of comments and fear that I’ll won’t be able to do it again. But I’ll try. I really do think they should let us CFers name our meds. It wouldn’t be hard to top the current names.

      Best of health to you,


      I hope you visit again.

  9. an idiot? you have your moments. shallow? i think not. i wont lecture you on regrets, i have only 30 years of them….you’re a tad ahead of me. I think you know that they are useless and a total drag. I would suggest tying them to some cement and dumping them off in the ocean or a river, kinda like they do to the snitches in mafia movies. I am reminded of a quote (or two) from Ralph Waldo Emerson “What lies behind you and what lies in front of you, pales in comparison to what lies inside of you.” oh and there is another that stays on my refridgerator “…to know that one life has breathed easier because you have lived, this is to have succeeded.” You have succeeded my unknown friend. much love ~j

    • Thank you, I think. 🙂 I wish I could let them go. I really do. I’ve just made so many mistakes. Big ones. They’re hard to give up. They haunt me.

      Appreciate the thoughtful comment. I’ll do my best to follow your advice.

  10. I’m no one from the middle of nowhere who googled the unknown comic to get an image for my facebook page. A joke. I stumbled upon your page & your blogs & have been reading… and am touched at how you touch others. Its funny, you write like someone who seems their time is short and values every second… those of us completely healthy take every second forgranted and waste them.

    I think you done good young man! Bless your beautiful heart & lungs. I’ve added you to my prayer list that you wont wreck your kids, that somehow Christ will interfer just as you are about to hand your 5 year old a shotgun. LOL!!!

    You really did bless me today. Thank you.

    • Marcia,

      I am so happy you decided to leave a comment. It’s a great one. I never thought that someone might stumble upon my site while searching the Unknown Comic. I’m honored, as I named the site with him in mind and love the fact we’re linked with at least one web surfer. And yes, I feel the weight of time each day. The clock is ticking.

      Thank you for the good thoughts. I wish you the best, too.


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