A few days ago I learned that one of my best friends growing up has an advanced form of incurable cancer. I probably spent more time with this guy from 7th to 12th grades than with any other non-family person. Truly formative years.

The news hit hard, of course, and I’m still digesting it, and still waiting to learn additional details. I’m also looking for a way to visit him as soon as I can.

One of the things the news did was trigger that (admittedly kind of cliché) thought that people have at times like these: What would *I* do if I knew I only had 6 to 12 months to live?

It’s a useful exercise to go through, I think, since this is a reminder of how serious illness can hit any of us at any time. Since my friend and I are so close in age and experience, it feels like it could have just as easily been me with this diagnosis.

Here’s the rough list of actions I think I’d take if I got similarly terrible news:

  1. Get my affairs in order (finances, will, etc., which I know should really be done already)
  2. Compose hand-written letters to every person I love letting them know how I feel about them
  3. Consolidate my favorite unpublished and unproduced writing in one place (Why? Partly vanity, I suppose, but also so that my kids have something to read when I’m gone)
  4. Consolidate a list of the produced work I’m most proud of (which is kind of already here on this site, I guess)
  5. Work on documenting how things go in my final months, partly for catharsis, partly to keep my brain occupied and engaged, and partly to leave something ELSE for my kids (those poor guys) to review at some point when they’re feeling nostalgic

I think that’s about it. I’m not sure I’d want to do any crazy world travel (I don’t have a burning need to visit Mt. Fuji or anything) but I can see wanting to spend a week at a cabin in the woods somewhere, a week along the coast somewhere, and a week in the middle of a big city somewhere while I’m working on #5. That would be fun.

This is likely the last I’ll post about this particular situation, cuz I think things are about to get pretty heavy, but we’ll see…

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