Miles Levin was 19 years old when he died of a rare form of pediatric cancer a few days ago. He kept a blog at hospital sponsored web site for people receiving medical treatment and their families. There’s a write up about him on CNN that I just came across, so I hunted down his blog, which is buried rather deep and can’t be linked to because you have to register as a user to access it. But here’s one of his posts from two years ago:
July 7th, 2005.
I went to the driving range the other day and I was thinking…
I was thinking how you start out with a big bucket full of golf balls, and you just start hitting away carelessly. You have dozens of them, each individual ball means nothing so you just hit, hit, hit. One ball gone is practically inconsequential when subtracted from your bottomless bucket. There are no practice swings or technique re-evaluations after a bad shot, because so many more tries remain. Yet eventually you start to have to reach down towards the bottom of the bucket to scavenge for another shot and you realize that tries are running out. Now with just a handful left, each swing becomes more meaningful. The right technique becomes more crucial, so between each shot you take a couple practice swings and a few deep breaths. There is a very strong need to end on a good note, even if every preceeding shot was horrible, getting it right at the end means a lot. You know as you tee up your last ball, “This is my final shot, I want to crush this with perfection; I must make this count.” Limited quantities or limited time brings a new, precious value and signficance to anything you do. Live every day shooting as if its your last shot, I know I have to.
I found out today 5 year survival rates are just 20%.