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Jumping in Puddles: One Man Shares How He Re-Awakened His Childhood Dreams

Posted by on October 6, 2020 in Conscious Living, Inspirational with 12 Comments

Jumping in Puddles

By Steve Demas

When I was a young boy I always enjoyed rainy days. Sure baseball was cancelled and I couldn't ride my bike outside but I knew the next day there would be left over puddles on the way to school. Jumping in puddles was one of our favorite small pastimes and making splashes while trying not to get soaked was a fun goal of mine.

I had the luxury of living so close to my grade school that my brothers and neighbors walked to Juliet Low elementary. One of the games we designed was to get to the puddle first and with one step make the splash and try to soak the person to your right or left depending which way you leaned. (I didn't say jumping in puddles was always a sweet gesture). We all knew the risks of puddle roulette but it was a game, an adventure before a day of arithmetic, science and art.

I still am very fond of these memories as I reflect back. I even still stay in touch with the gang I grew up with even though I live out of state.

About a year ago, I woke up one day with some pains in my left leg and my left shoulder. As a typical male I chalked it up as aging pains or even leftover sports injuries, which I am very proud of. After the pain continued for many days, I eventually had to seek some medical advice and my outlook turned very serious very fast. After an MRI, it was revealed to me that I had stage 4 lung cancer that had spread to my liver, kidneys, spine, shoulders and hip. The prognosis was bleak but they said “they will make me comfortable.”

Those words resonated with me and reminded me of Walt Disney. When Walt was asked what time Disney closed, he always responded “We are open until 10:00″ always turning the words into a positive. I just received those same “spin” words and my reality changed on the dime. My first words after I heard the bad news were, “I guess I am going to Disneyland.”

Well I realized pretty fast my days were numbered and I specifically asked my doctor not to reveal the predicted outlook. It seemed to me it was best not to know. The next few months were obviously challenging and the side effects from chemotherapy and radiation were just as brutal. Fast forward one year as I type this and I have survived the original prognosis and found my way into remission.

I don't write today to vent or seek accolades but to share the gift of cancer: the gift of making you wake up to life. Had my situation kept going south or not improved, I realized I was still going to enjoy each day no matter how many I had left. And Yes Disneyland is where I went as soon as I could walk.

I was lucky enough to study business at Indiana University and found some great stepping stone jobs out of school. I then built my own business in investments and real estate and basically work for myself with the freedoms that come from not having a punch card.

But as I started to win my health back I woke up to the fact I am not sure what I should be doing with my allotted time extension I have been granted. I was so appreciative for my grace and for the outpouring of kindness that my wife and daughters witnessed that going back to the life that I had built didn't —  and doesn't — seem important.

One’s mind wonders when under heavy morphine and the thought of mortality is one that is hard to digest since I never really gave it much thought. But as I came out of this tailspin I realized I don't jump into puddles anymore… When did that stop? When did I take the simplest most enjoyable risk out of my world? When did I stop riding bikes for fun and turn it into exercise only or worse ride a stationary bike that goes nowhere? When did I stop collecting baseball cards? Basically when did I stop living my childhood dreams and write them off as I was growing up?

As I thought about this, I decided to redirect my energy towards some old school passions. Not a bucket list, but true deep down loves. Things that are unique only to one’s personal tastes and flavor. We all have them but somehow I learned a way to suppress them and cover them up with adult dreams when in reality our childhood dreams are the ones that are truly rich.

I have 48 years of life experiences to tap and be rolled over into my 49th year. There is more than enough wisdom of what I enjoy and what I do not enjoy to make a masterpiece out of 2016. Nothing like a NDE, Near Death Experience, to jolt your world back in line with what's really important. All the amazing experiences are surfacing back to life and I really am starting to feel amazing despite having no cure.

Today I write from Sedona, Arizona where I took the family via train from Indiana to Flagstaff to see some beauty and then attend a spring training Chicago Cubs baseball game. I even bought some baseball cards just in case Anthony Rizzo and John Lester, both cancer survivors, are close enough for me to get an autograph.

Why this adventure? Because that is what a kid would do. From every reaction there is an equal and opposite reaction. Cancer has woken up my Childhood dreams. It was a gift.

Now I just have to find some puddles.

About the Author

Steve Demas. Portfolio Manager for the Archer Funds in Indianapolis Indiana, partner in R&D, An industrial real estate developer. Graduate of Indiana University Kelley of School of Business. Lawrence North High School Softball coach. Married Father of two daughters, Ali and Katie. 2016 Theme: “Feel the Fear, and do it Anyway.”


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  1.' BrittonSkye ;) says:

    I love this story!!!!!! Very encouraging and inspirational. We get so caught up in life that we forget to enjoy it. I think it’s supposed to rain tomorrow, bet I find me a rain puddle 😉

  2.' BrittonSkye says:

    I love this story!!!! Very encouraging and inspirational! I think so many of us get caught up in living life that we forget to enjoy it. It’s supposed to rain here tomorrow….gonna go find me some rain puddles 😉

  3.' Spyros Tsoronis says:

    u have to read this one!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!111

  4.' BrittonSkye says:

    Love this! Very encouraging and inspirational story! And you are so right, we tend to get so busy that we forget to enjoy life! I think it’s supposed to rain here tomorrow, time to find me some rain puddles 😉

  5.' Bill Leece says:

    Steve, I remember you from our days together at Rolling Meadows High School, a time when I read much of what you wrote. And now comes this: such a remarkable story of strength. And remembering you from high school, this strength comes as no surprise.

    I thank you for your bravery and honesty. I seem to recall saying those same words many years ago when you’d stand in front of the class and share those teenage and sometimes childhood dreams (angst too) with the rest of us.

    So here it is Sunday April 24, and this Friday I have a scheduled treatment (bladder and prostate cancer) at Northwestern Memorial Hospital. I’ll be thinking of your bravery, knowing what inspired you can inspire me as well.

    I’ll keep you in my prayers; keep me in yours too. Deal?

    Love ya,

    •' Steve Demas says:

      MR. Leece and pardon me for not calling you Bill. You taught me how to write and as I wrote this I remember you teaching me “detail, detail, detail” hence my effort. I was surprised they published my first draft without an edit. I will say a prayer for you for a swift recovery. “Walk in faith, not by sight” 2 Corinthians 5:7

  6.' Marie Housel says:

    Thank you for writing this, Steve. So many of us are going through this illness but there are most certainly lessons that we have chosen to learn this way. I struggle all the time to not let myself get immersed in a dis-ease (which is one of my lessons), and you have made it easier with your reflections.

    • Steve Demas says:

      Marie, I just read your comments and I truly hope you were able to find remission. Prayers for you and your family.

  7.' Steve Demas says:

    Well I am still here. 2/9/20 will be 5 years. I might write up a follow up article call it “dirty boots” after the “Jumping in Puddles”

    •' clnews says:

      It is really awesome to hear from you Steve!!! If you do end up writing an article, please email me: Have an amazing Thanksgiving!!!
      PS, I am currently sitting in the Wildflower restaurant where we met. How’s that for a synchronicity? Our meeting was a synchronicity.

  8.' Lynda says:

    Steve- it was a pleasure meeting you today! There are no accidents! Your accelerated school aka cancer is wisdom that you should share! You have a gift…many gifts actually and you should share. Thank you for the time you spent with Dana and I. God is not finished with you yet!

    • Anonymous says:

      Lynda, it was nice meeting you. Thank you for the kind words. I am starting to write as I come up to my 5 year anniversary. It’s humbling for no other reason I know some people reading this have their own battles. Cancer doesn’t make you feel special. I say often “if you want to make God laugh, tell him what your plans are”..My second article, “Second Chances” is just a follow up of my cancer journey.

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