It has been about ten years since I was told that I am in remission from lymphoma. But I have never looked at my recovery from cancer as a second chance at a first life. I have always looked at life as a precious commodity to be cherished. I have always thought it a tabula rasa, a blank tablet to be colored in with our experiences, at all levels.

With or without cancer, our lives are precious, out futures uncertain, and our tomorrows unknown. One of the things I learned during the days of my own illness was how many others have also experienced loved ones who endured cancer. Things that are intimately most personal are inevitably universally most common.

Cancer patients who meet in groups are told to “Make Every Day Count’. I don’t think that you need to be a cancer patient to believe that.

South Florida celebrates gay pride this week, and in cities across the world, so too do many other LGBT communities gather in festivals and song to proclaim our pride. Let us however, not delude ourselves. We should not need a special day to live our lives in a special way.

There is a Jewish story of the Baal Shem Tov, a great rabbi, that was told by a young student at his funeral. “He lived 99 years,” remarked one lad. “I wonder what could have been the most important thing he ever did?”

A wise rabbi overheard the student. He responded: “Whatever he was doing at the moment.”

Don’t second guess in life; first choose. Cast your lot by making each day special and every day meaningful.

As a kid, I grew up learning how to draw on Venus Paradise sets where you have to color in defined borders by pencils with particular numbers. And now I cannot draw at all today.

Our lives, particularly gay lives, are not to be defined by an interlocking 500-piece crossword puzzle with the pieces tightly bordered and spread about the coffee table in your living room. We are only limited by the boundaries of our imagination.

Hopefully, your life is enriched with treasured friends, spiritually grounded hobbies, a wonderful occupation, educative experiences, and a loving partner. Hopefully, your life’s lot is bouncing with the vitality and spring of a rubber Spalding ball on a concrete city street. Maybe you won’t land where you want every time, but every day you will find new energy to believe again in yourself.

We create the world we live in by each and every choice we make every day. Do what frees you. Do, and your life matters. Liberate your spirit, journey to the center of your soul, and be chained only to the promise of fulfilling the voices that yearn within. They often contain messages we suppress in the daily toll of our busy and material lives.

Keep the child alive within you. As kids, we were taught to believe in God, our social studies books, and that we could change the world. So what have we learned? God is an underachiever, historians doctored texts, and the world changes us. Give a damn anyway.

Faced with the certain prospect that everything we believe in will inevitably be shattered, or be taken away this evening by a tsunami, let the beach sands warm the soles of your feet.

Do not worry about the fact that the performer you are watching in concert earns more in one evening then you will earn in this year. So what? Live your life, not theirs. How many of them are really happy anyway?

Take deep breaths. Walk your dogs. Give peace a chance, and be not troubled that a walk through the valley of most souls will barely get your feet wet. Walk anyway. Live passionately, use marijuana medicinally, and remember that while homosexuality may keep you from joining the Boy Scouts, it is also likely to get you a network television series. Yes, you too can grow up to be President. Look at our last three. Be who you are and become who you want to be. Run the race you have never run.

It is okay to put a little hot fudge on your sundae, but not every meal. Enjoy a high protein diet, and never eat meat loaf prepared by anyone other than your mother. Eat your greens, and learn patience- preferably by noon tomorrow.

Every time you close the door on reality, it sneaks in through the window. Stare out at the stars anyway, and if you do not believe in heaven, at least find beauty in the darkness.

You may only have one life but it is not a crime to have multiple lovers, although probably not at the same time. In this electronic age, remember that you no longer have any privacy, and we know not only your credit card number but which movies you rented last year at Blockbuster.

Live your life in a grounded fashion, find yourself an anchor and plant it in your soul. Beneath the earth lies fertile soil. It is what you feel and not what you see that matters. Reread Peanuts, keep your weight down, and chin up. Walk with your shirt off this weekend.

Remember what matters is not what you make but what you keep; not what you take, but what you give. You only get one chance, so, as Rudyard Kipling wrote, give the unforgiving minute sixty seconds worth of distance run.

Give it everything you got before the government takes everything you get. And if I have not said so already, thank you so much for reading our newspaper.