• Peter Swank

Let's Begin with My Death

Updated: Oct 17

In 2013, I died. I woke up two days later with a partially mechanical heart.

How’s that for a start!?

That sort of experience changes one’s perspective on every aspect of life. Some by choice, others by force. Regardless of how, everything changes. One thing that changed in me was the definition of life. I stopped chasing the Lamborghini in my garage, the boat, the money, the always being on top. Well to be honest, I still want that boat. The HOW and WHO of life became more important than anything else.

I had to re-learn how to physically live. My new condition laid out severe restrictions on activity and diet. I started paying real attention to how I physically existed in our world. It was a daily struggle and state of being that required constant attention. But it got easier. Life got easier. It became second nature for me to live with the activity and diet restrictions.

The people with whom I surrounded myself had to adapt as well. I wasn’t the same person- couldn’t be. The dynamic of my relationships evolved to be more personal and caring about how we interacted and what we shared. I started evaluating why my friends were friends. And in the process, the closer relationships narrowed to form true, lifelong friendships.

Acquaintances also grew. I searched for more connection with others and amplified an already extroverted personality. I talked to anyone indiscriminately and dug for a deeper meaning in those conversations… What was important to the others? What motivated them? Where were they going, why, and how did they get to this point. What they did “for a living” (i.e. job function) became less and less important.

Life was re-defined by relationships and experience. I craved it more and more. I went back to school to study human capital. I changed from a successful technology and management career to one focused on influencing others’ lives. I sold almost everything I owned, boarded a ship, and sailed to Europe to develop more multicultural connections and explore what Life might bring me. I started teaching, studied coffee, and fostered new global friendships.

Life is about relationships and experience- period. I died to realize this and was given a second chance. Join me on the adventures of a life re-designed to truly live.

Memento mori. Vive ut vivas!

Heart Surgery

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