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On this day 29 years ago, my parents welcomed me into the world. They named me “Scott,” which originates from the Old English term for the Gaelic warriors from Scotland. Even though they had no way of knowing what was in store for me or what sort of man I would become, it turned out that this name was extremely fitting for the life I would live. Because as they would soon find out, I was going to need all of the fight I could get to battle through all of the hardships that life was going to throw at me.

Scott Drotar Celebrate Life
To me, birthdays are a reason to celebrate life.

As you have figured out after reading this far, today is my 29th birthday. While for most people birthdays become less meaningful as you get older, for me the opposite is true. When you have a life expectancy of only 3 years, are told by numerous medical “specialists” that you need to live as a shut-in to avoid germs, and have gone into respiratory failure on multiple occasions, you look at your birthday in an entirely different light. Today I get to celebrate another year of fun that I was not “supposed” to get. I get to celebrate another year with my loved ones, another year of new experiences, another season of Notre Dame football. I get to celebrate living.

When you go about your life knowing that you have less time on this planet than most people, you see things a bit differently. I know that I will not live to be 70 or 80 years old, because my body will just not hold up that long. If I am lucky, I will be able to make it into my 50s before my body has had enough abuse that it decides it cannot fight any longer, and this reduced timeframe to experience the world has changed my perspective on some things. Since I have at best 50 years of living, and I am now 29 years old, I am on the backend of my life. Knowing that you have already lived over half of your days makes you look at the world through a different lens. You gain an understanding of what is truly important in life and what makes you happy. You strive to develop and maintain your relationships with loved ones and cherish every opportunity to create new memories with them. Most of all, you learn to value the amazing life you have had and appreciate the time you have left, which drives you to take advantage of every new experience you can find.

Scott Drotar Cake
Nothing beats a delicate, moist piece of yellow cake with creamy, rich, chocolate frosting on your birthday…except two pieces.

Even though my birthday marks another year of my life that is over, and it signifies me moving one step closer to my final days, I still look at September 10th as a day to celebrate. Today commemorates another year of happy moments with my family and another year of sharing my story with you. It means that I have successfully battled through another year of obstacles and proven the “experts” wrong by kicking SMA’s ass for another 365 days. It denotes one more year of memories with my parents and siblings that they will have to remember me even long after I am gone. If all of these incredible things are not reason to put on a festive hat, take the evening off, and have fun with friends, I do not know what is, which is why I still celebrate my special day to the best of my ability. I am not merely celebrating the fact that the Earth has orbited the Sun one more time (although I was not sure it would make it this year), I am celebrating all of the incredible experiences that filled this time. I am celebrating life. Plus, if nothing else, it is an excuse to eat cake, and everyone likes cake.

Did this article leave you wondering something? Are you curious about a certain aspect of my life? Do you want to know my favorite color? Submit your question to “Roll Models Mail Call,” and I will do my best to answer it in a post.

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