I’m exhausted after being awake for too long. I flew out of Logan yesterday to Lisbon, Portugal for the Disquiet Literary Program. We start tonight. I’m homesick, tired, and hungry. I need a nap and a shower. But part of me is awake and thinking about this date, June 23. Four years ago, on this date, I had a surgery that returned my life to me. I wasn’t going to make it to 40, and I wasn’t living either. I traded off a dying wasted body part that was draining the life from me, for freedom. Today I get to take on a new adventure in a new country with new people who will help me learn and grow. I’m exhausted from a turbulence filled flight instead of that being my constant state. My left arm that used to be filled with bruises from needles now has tattoos. My port scar may always be raised and puffy, but it’s not as bright pink. My heart isn’t going to fail out of exhaustion. I’m ready for new adventures that terrify me in the best ways, instead of not having enough energy to worry if my heart will give out. I may be 42, but today is a mini 4th birthday for me. I’m more than happy to celebrate.