By: Jamie Bussin

In the last 6 months I’ve had 2 serious surgeries. The first on Family Day Weekend was an emergency and saved my life. The second, in August, just before production of this issue, was to make me whole again. Aside from a number of scars, I am back physically to where I was before the health incident. And for that I’m very grateful.

Lying in bed, post-surgery in February, my mother commented that the emergency was a life-changing event. Her comment, which was observational and benign in nature, nevertheless upset me. I’m someone who believes that we have an essential essence, and I am by nature one who doesn’t seek out change. It irked me to think that I would be transformed. 

Since then, I’ve had some time to think about what she said and consider why it bothered me so much. I think, as someone with a family history of heart disease and cancer, especially in the context of my father’s very difficult final years; I feared that the emergency might be the start of something larger – an overall decline in my physical health. Today, I accept that it doesn’t really help to worry about that possibility. I can only do what I can do, as I have over the past 20 years, to maintain my health – through nutrition, exercise, sleep etc. 

That speaks to the physical me. But I’ve been wondering if I’ve changed mentally, emotionally or philosophically. On the face of it, it doesn’t seem so. My worldview is the same. I haven’t decided to forgo my earthly belongings. I have no new insights into God. And, unfortunately, some of my lesser qualities still persist.

I thought, perhaps, that I’m not objective enough about myself (I mean, who is?) to really determine if I’ve changed. So I asked my wife if she noticed anything. She agreed that I am essentially the same person I’ve always been. But she thinks there are some subtle differences. I’ve taken to telling people, very openly, how I feel about them; what they mean to me, and why they’re important. I’m more appreciative; specifically of all the support I’ve received from family, friends, and from co-workers and management at Zoomer. I also find myself more attuned to the beauty of nature and appreciative of those who strive to make this world a better place through their art and work and nature. I’m very fortunate to be able to both earn a living as a creator and to express myself in my pastimes, and to experience those efforts of others.

I appear not to be alone. I’ve noticed that others are writing about their desire for, and the value of, experience, whether self-created or not. Art, travel, spirituality? I think the desire manifests differently for everyone. In reviewing the articles in this issue, I realized that these themes have, perhaps subconsciously, seeped in. Emil Rem was a recent guest on the talk show. His discussion about the importance of wasting time resonated with me and I asked him to write about it for this issue. Similarly Joseph Gibbons and our discussion about rest and energy, speaks to the importance of finding balance. Lastly, our mindfulness expert, Tracey Soghrati, mirrors these ideas when she explores the meaning of ‘self-care’. As always, if you have any comments about this note or anything else you’ve read in this issue of The Tonic Magazine, please feel free to reach out.