On New Year's Day, 1985, my 40-year-old father died of a heart attack. I was two years old. But never mind me; my poor mother was in her twenties and had lost the love of her life right next to her on that January morning.

December 31st, 2023. I'm 40 years old. Some crooks stole my bike from my basement earlier in the year. The police officer who came over to take fingerprints - yes, in Austria, things are different - told me how he had just had a heart attack. With a warm smile, he advised me not to worry about anything material, as all that matters is one's health. I saw him as a messenger and took his message to heart, but of course, life went on, and so did its worries of material things.

At the back of my mind, I wondered, yet I justified that we each have our own story, separate from our fathers, mothers, family, society, and nationality. On New Year's Eve, I found myself happy, with great company, living in a unique European city. Despite my worries about war in Ukraine and Israel and all the impending issues likely coming from the East, I felt highly hopeful and grateful to be part of this world.

And while many nights before I had wondered if I would see another day, I slept like a baby on that night. And when I woke up, a smile came across my face. I pulled out my phone and messaged my mother, "Guess what? I'm still here." She responded right away, "Of course you are. You're different than your Dad."

Now I don't know my Dad. People don't say much bad about the dead, but it was clear that he was larger than life. Everyone I met had a strong opinion of him. People only have strong opinions of those who make some kind of impression. He was a Leo, and if you're a Leo or know Leos, you know what they're like. They amuse the confident and horrify the wimps.

I'm not a Leo; I'm a Cancer, and the best description I ever heard about myself was from my French colleague in Tel Aviv: "Cancer! Just like my Dad! You are complete psychopaths but geniuses! Artists!" in her Frech accent. I can attest that I'm not clinically insane, as I actually did get that tested, but I don't do well with normal; it bores me. But it's not about superficial normal. It's about going through life with no inspiration, no dreams, just doing things because everyone else is doing them, or worse yet, because some helicopter parents expect them.

I was lucky; my Mum sent me to South Africa when I was 15 with a return ticket, but that's another story. Life is scary, and anything can happen. One moment, you can be eating sushi; the next, the Russians are invading. Another moment, you can be relaxing on a Saturday morning, and psychos with Kalashnikovs are killing you and everyone you know. I am not naive or delusional. But I see every day of life as a miracle that is taken for granted.

All days are just as valuable - happy days, angry days, sad days, depressed days, prosperous days, broke days, unpaid bill days, moving days, new car days, new home days, baby days, and funeral days. It's all part of the human experience, and it's truly a great experience if you learn to let go and take the journey.

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