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Kings Mountain, North Carolina, United States
"A mind lively and at ease" is a blog by a first-generation Russian-Ukrainian immigrant Maria K. (Maria Igorevna Kuroshchepova). An engineer by education, an analyst by trade, as well as a writer, photographer, artist and amateur model, Maria brings her talent for weaving an engaging narrative to stories of life, fashion and style advice, book and movie reviews, and common-sense and to-the-point essays on politics and economy.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Today... I am not waiting

It is not every day that you are told that whatever you want to do, you'll have to manage in your own lifetime, because there will be no descendants to continue your mission - at least no biological descendants. This very statement was handed to me in December of 2009, wrapped neatly in a diagnosis of a rare incurable genetic defect that made it possible for me to get pregnant but not sustain a fetus until birth.

My husband and I did some soul searching as to whether we wanted to adopt, and decided not to. Instead, we sat down and revamped our vision to include things that could continue and make impact long after we were gone - children or no children.

The medical tests that followed left my doctor scratching his head and me beginning to wonder exactly how much time I had to implement whatever it was I wanted to implement. My blood pressure was perfect, but the heart disease genes from both sides of the family weren't going anywhere. My blood sugar was fabulous, but there was also the maternal grandmother with diabetes. My red and white blood cell counts were normal, but my doctor stated that we couldn't discount cancer risks altogether, what with my mother having died of a bone tumor. There was still some debate as to whether my paternal grandmother died from breast cancer or from age-related dementia. My existing issues - the exercise-induced asthma, the immune system problems, the sometimes-debilitating back injury and the borderline personality disorder were all still there, only too happy to have more company. I was beginning to feel like a ticking time bomb.

As months went by and I realized that perhaps I wasn't going to drop dead right away, I took some time to organize and approach my to-do's more systematically. You might expect me to say that "action" became my code word. No, it didn't. Rather, it was "efficient action directed with the help of a laser scope". Having the fires of questionable health burning under my tush made me realize that just action was not going to accomplish much. What had to be done had to be done right, because who knew whether or not I would have a chance to re-do it.

In the months and years that followed I published 19 literary works, of which 8 were translations and 11 - my own pieces. In addition to designing eBook and paperback covers for all of my own publications, I designed 15 book covers for other authors. I drew 116 illustrations for my own and other people's books. I created 87 pieces of art and jewelry. All the while, I continued to work my full-time job as an analyst, my husband and I continued to run a business together, bought and moved into a bigger house, which we proceeded to fix up to make it safe and secure for us and our five pets.

There are playful rumors out there that I am not human or that exposure to Chernobyl fallout had turned me into some kind of a mutant. I do nothing to dispel them, in fact, I have loads of fun encouraging and spreading them. But the truth is - the only mutation I have is that broken genetic switch that makes it impossible for me to have children. I don't glow in the dark. I don't own a time machine. I do not have a portal into a parallel dimension where time flows slower than here. I just work.

Even play results in work. I go on vacation, come back and write a review for the travel blog I collaborate with. I play an adventure game and post a video review on one of my YouTube channels. I read a book, and I write something about it, and get an author interview if possible.

People do ask me, how I manage it all. I honestly don't have a good answer. The only thing that drives me is the not knowing - never knowing - how much time I have left. So, every day is about that laser-precise efficient action. I hope I live long enough to start a school, to revolutionize American education system, to get the foundation going and sponsor the initiatives my husband and I care about. But in the meantime, there is plenty of other stuff to do. And I am not waiting - because I can't afford to.

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