My oldest friend popped into the doctors as he wasn’t feeling too well. The next day he was in critical care facing a quintuple heart bypass … yes I didn’t even know there was such a thing.

I’ve reproduced a note he sent out, something to inspire:

Pleased to be able to cross heart surgery off both my bucket and ‘kick the bucket’ lists.

The operation was a success. I’m though the critical stage and almost beyond the danger of infection. The painkillers are working and all being well I will be again in 4 to 6 weeks. Like many others there’s a chance I might encounter relatively minor heart issues in the future, but thankfully, I now have a future. Hooray!

Yes, it was tough. An assault on my very being, but the NHS staff from across the world, working twelve and half hour shifts without paid lunch breaks are bloody heroes.

My family and friends. New, old, near and far. Long since seen or recently made. What can I say? Your messages, thoughts and prays touched my heart. To feel the love of so many amazing people bought tears to my eyes when my wife read them to me in critical care. Let’s be honest I’m cantankerous, awkward, annoying git, so I really didn’t feel like I deserved you all.

One thing I am for sure, is an extremely lucky man. I have been given a second chance. I intend to use that. Life is precious, so please make the most of every day. You never know when it might be taken away. Don’t worry about what might happen because it probably won’t. Yearning for the ’could haves’ and ’should haves’ will hold you back. Set new goals and strive for them, but most importantly of all, live in the here and now.

Life is an incredible journey with many twists and turns of ups and downs, with lots of seemingly long flat boring bits, but ride them out beautiful people because they’ve been specifically designed for you to experience. Make the most of everything.

Thanks for being there. I will respond to you all individually over the coming weeks. I look forward to seeing more of you when we can. I’m also going to rejoin the Facebook community to be more present in your lives, so expect a droll comment or a flippant remark from time to time.

All my love and gratitude,

Dream as if you’ll live forever. Live as if you’ll die today.