An older couple discusses with a younger couple what has kept them together – and passes along some great advice.
This week marks exactly one year since our dog, Jack, abruptly left us.
Appearing fine with the rising of the sun, by nightfall he was no more. That’s a grim progression to experience any time, but to complicate this horribly unpleasant and unexpected bump in our highway of life, Jack’s passing occurred the exact morning I was slated to leave town for three months of contracted work. My wife and I, heartbroken, left the veterinarian and, upon arriving home, tearfully hugged each other as I slid into my rental car, and left her forlorn and isolated in our grievously hollow home.
Intertwined throughout the choking weight of sadness I carried was woven a heavy rope of guilt. But what are you going to do? It was three months worth of employment, planned well in advance. If your occupation takes you away — even when it’s more than inconvenient — you’re bound to go.
Life goes on — so to speak.
When my travel concluded, my wife requested,
“I know you love what you do – and I want you to be happy. But, I really need you not to travel so often. Would you please try and earn more of your income here?”
I agreed, not only because of her request, but also because I had been growing weary of the travel hassles. Her vocalizing my thoughts cemented the decision. So, for the last several months, I have been “reinventing myself at 60,” not something I intended – nor something I recommend, but as they say, “Life is what happens while we’re making other plans.” Mostly, short of scurrying hither and yon sussing out new modes of income, I’m doing okay. To that end, I do more coaching, both in person and on-line. I’m producing my own local seminars. I’ve snagged more hours assisting clients with marketing and consulting. And, I’m pleased as heck that even after 20 years together, I really do still enjoy spending so many hours with my lovely bride (and how cool is it that she says she enjoys having me around).
Today however brought forth an unexpected revelation: The most difficult component of my reinvention is that I no longer know who I am.
Two huge news stories rocked my world this week.
The first involved a powerful video featuring CNN’s senior international correspondent, Ivan Watson, as he reported from a helicopter flying to Mount Shingal in Northern Iraq. Their mission was to drop supplies to those trapped there. Upon touching down, the aircraft was besieged with hordes of people, so desperate to escape that they were throwing children on board in what Mr. Watson accurately described as “chaotic” and “crazy.”
As they flew back over the front line, with the rat-tat-tat of machine guns firing at the enemy below, the civilians on board were covering their ears, many sobbing uncontrollably, eventually changing to tears of joy as they reached their destination.
Roll forward a few hours.
My son texted me,
“I know you are a big Robin Williams fan. He passed away apparently due to suicide. Beyond sad.”
Again I was surprised as I felt tears well up. [Read more…]
There are “big picture” and “smaller picture” health choices.
A lump in one’s breast is “big picture.” Finding time to take a walk or choosing between deep fried or grilled chicken could be classified, “smaller picture.” Granted making enough wise “smaller picture” health choices is a “big picture” issue in the end. However for discussion sake, “big picture” issues are beyond the control of the every-person, requiring action without delay. “Smaller picture” issues provide choice and possess the luxury of time.
So, although lowering my sodium intake today, a smaller picture issue, will not have a direct affect in the immediate, it could – over time — determine whether or not I get high blood pressure and a stroke, a definite “big picture” issue.
The “big picture” is made of infinite “small pictures.”
“Big pictures” require more knowledge to correct than do “small pictures.” As example, no one has the wherewithal to preform self-administered angioplasty after suffering a myocardial infarction. Conversely, when it comes to the “small picture,” we usually possess enough understanding to know what to do. It doesn’t take a cardio surgeon’s expertise to know that a deep dish, 12-meat-special, 24-inch pizza infused with gooey, dripping, cheese crust is not as healthy as a veggie stir-fry. One need not be an Olympic athlete to recognize that a morning walk is healthier that catching up with gossip on “The View.” Even non-scholars comprehend that reading is a superior way to relax than is the third martini.
We appreciate these to be true. Moreover, unlike “big picture” decisions, we maintain control over our decisions and actions.
Not everything is equally important.
One of the main reasons we don’t move forward is we forget that we cannot do everything all the time. We stress ourselves out thinking of how much we have to do. We then get overloaded and shut down.
Take time to remember what really matters by using the “Five Year Rule.”
As yourself if anyone will really know or care about this event five years from now.
- If the answer is “No,” let it go. Get to it when you can – if you want to.
- If the answer is “Yes,” it’s important. Take care of it as soon as you can. Then take a moment for yourself.