The “Long Goodbye” and My Determined Fight to Achieve the Unbelievable
This is an unusual posting for my reader base. It will be short and very personal in content. I apologize if the frank content offends anyone. However, I can assure you, everything I say is hard but true. While some of you may find this difficult, I can only hope that my intentions of opening my readers’ views to allow them to become better informed and have a wider perspective in visiting my blog.
Yesterday, after speaking with my father in the morning, I found out my last paternal Aunt has fallen into a palliative state as a result of her longtime struggle with Alzheimer’s disease.
Discovered in 1906 by Alois Alzheimer, a renowned German neurologist, there are now said to be 48 million sufferers of the disease worldwide. The disease causes the onset of dementia, and in turn, causes body functions to breakdown and eventually the essential organs to fail to work. It was christened “The Long Goodbye” because the actual onset of dementia can be unpredictable, sometimes lasting decades or even just a few months. The nature of the word goodbye relates to those loved ones to see the person eventually become nothing more than a shadow of their former selves. This truly is the devastating disease that needs all the help it can receive.
However, fundraising is not the reason why I introduced this concept and hard topic into my blog. Whilst I do wish to garner awareness for our silent causes, I also want to speak about something closer to home.
I have a condition called secondary non-genetic dystonia. Let’s face it, that not many people have heard about. Without getting too technical, it basically means I cannot control any fine motor skills. This problem with the disease or condition is made worse by many factors including tiredness, stress, or alcohol.
Since birth, I have never been able to fend for myself. Not one day has passed where I have dressed myself, showered myself, or brushed my own teeth. This might sound harsh to some, but without a loving wife, incredible parents, and a variety of electronic wheelchairs, I would, in fact, be an innate member of society. I hear those people who love me thinking, “you can’t say that?” and whilst I understand the emotional defensiveness of those people around me, what I said is exactly true.
There is one factor that is different in my case. I am as stubborn as a mule, as ambitious as Bill Gates and as intelligent as Albert Einstein (according to my US customs visa anyway).
From the age of 13, I have known what I wanted to do, how wanted to do it, and where I wanted to be. I became the only disabled trader in Goldman Sachs history, which is undoubtedly the world’s premier investment bank. Was it hard? You’re damn right it was hard and there were days where I wanted to give up and go home. These days are the hardest because we are acutely aware that ultimately, we have taken a gamble. This gamble is on whether you believe in yourself, no one else, just yourself. But with every bet there is always a downside, in my case, it was leaving friends and family behind to go and fulfill my dream.
I cannot say I have any regrets. It has been incredibly painful and incredibly arduous along the way. And that’s before people get in your way because there will always be those who are bigoted and small minded and just want to put people down. This is why I admire what Peter Thiel has done recently to Gawker, which to me, seemed like nothing but the harbor of doom. As far as I’m concerned, they got what they deserved.
Life can be extremely fragile, both mentally and physically. When conditions such as Alzheimer’s exist, and are more prevalent than ever, I urge people to realize that life gives you a gift, and it is your job to not waste it. I encourage anyone to push themselves outside of their own comfort zone…just give it a try.