Do Not Kiss Gargoyles. That’s how it all began. That’s how I caught strep. I am so sure of this now that I believe all gargoyles should be labeled with this warning, “Kissing gargoyles may be dangerous to your health.” My cousin just hugged the gargoyle. He didn’t get strep. I kissed it. Five hours later I lay immobile on the couch unable to talk, walk, or even pee.

It’s my weak spot. I always fall for the underdog, or in this case should I say under-goyle? It looked so sad, lonely, and repentant, so I kissed it. This was the beginning of my misery, but it wasn’t the final blow. That came later while I was sitting in the doctor’s office.

There I sat with sad Bambi eyes describing the guilty gargoyle when I told the doctor, “I woke up this morning with a 102 temperature!” It was a simple, truthful, innocent plea of, ‘Put me out of my misery, NOW,’ helpless sigh, ‘Please!’ I expected my doctor to respond with a kind, understanding smile, pat me on the shoulder sympathetically, pull out his prescription pad, and write an Rx that would immediately restore my health so I could float home on a rainbow cloud singing Kumbaya. Instead, he grunted sarcastically and said, “That’s a dangerous temperature for someone at your age.”

Someone at MY age? What did that mean? I consider myself young and healthy. My doctor did not agree. I stopped. This was the final blow. With those three words I could hear a nail being hammered into my coffin from across time and space. Somewhere out there, my time line had an end, and I had no idea when the end would be.

Back at home as I hacked up green junk and sipped ginger ale, I reflected on the doctor’s comment. At my age I thought things would be different. I had hoped to accomplish so much more with my life, but over the past 8 years since leaving college and beginning my quasi-career I’d fallen into a rut. A younger version of myself would scoff at the ‘go to work, go home, go to work, go home’ routine I lived.

So after 10 boxes of Puffs, 300,000mg of antibiotics, 40 million diarrhea runs to the bathroom, three prayers asking God to please take me now, one really low point when I cried through my own imaginary funeral, and this truly embarrassing conversation I had with myself: “Oh God, I’m dying! You’re not dying! Yes I am! No you’re not! Get it together Girl!” I decided. It’s time.

It’s time to get out of the rut, start conquering the ‘bucket list,’ and begin living the life I always dreamed I would, and I’m bringing you with me.