My first round of two years was when I was a baby. The one labeled “terrible twos,” but which I would prefer to describe as the carefree, full of wonderment, naïve years. I don’t think any of us remember much from back then.
My second “two years” was twenty-four years ago, on December 16th, 1986. On that very day, a sniper entered a mall in Tulsa and shot Frosty the Snowman. Thankfully, Frosty only had to be bandaged before getting inflated again and resuming his post in front of the store. By then, I no longer believed in Frosty the Snowman like I did when I was two, but I was naïve enough to have two children after having a liver transplant; naïve enough to think I could live very well with a sick, second liver. I must say, that liver was good to me for fourteen years.
My third “two years” was ten years ago, on October 28th, 2000. On that day, Lance Armstrong received the Prince of Asturias Award from the Spanish Government. I admire Lance. I feel we have a kindred spirit. We’ve both been through the ringer and have come out the other end better and stronger. I became a spin instructor at my gym. Like the previous liver, I believed my health was great. And it was for ten years. I was naïve enough to think I would never need another organ.
Today, October 29th, 2010, I’m on my fourth “two years.” Finally, a liver and a kidney that are healthy and work well. On this day, a short but poignant segment of the news caught my attention. They grew a liver in a petri dish. It wasn’t a human liver, but nevertheless a liver. You would think that the word naïve would have disappeared from my vocabulary by now. I’m happy to report it hasn’t. I’m naïve enough to believe that one day, we won’t need any donors for organs. Patients will buy them from the organ bank where they’ll be grown.
I now realize that naïveté has nothing to do with getting older. It’s simply a wonderful opportunity to shove all else in your life aside so you can engage in something exciting and unusual.
On this, my fourth two-year anniversary, I’d like to raise my glass and salute all the naïve people of this world. May you never loose that “certain je ne sais quoi,” we call naïveté. We need it in our lives and our thoughts. For those of you who haven’t tried it yet, go ahead, jump in with both feet and let yourselves be happily surprised.