Appreciating Health and Years

Β “Life is beautiful, as long as it consumes you. When it is rushing through you, destroying you, life is gorgeous, glorious. It’s when you burn a slow fire and save fuel, that life’s not worth having.” ~ D. H. Lawrence

In a recent post I highlighted Ysabel Duron, a news journalist and cancer survivor, as a shining example of someone who has since her diagnosis, embarked on an encore (aged 60+) career. Little slows Ysabel down because she has utter clarity about her mission and greater purpose in life.

Cancer. It’s a ravaging disease. Many of us have friends and family who have battled this scourge. I came across the following (author unknown) piece a while back. I’m sharing it to heighten awareness of cancer or any other crushing affliction.

The Chicago airport was crowded especially downstairs where the United commuter gates are. Sitting to my right a few seats away a man in his seventies was doing business. From what was spoken on several calls he apparently worked for a grocery supply company.

The last call the gentleman made started with “Hi, this is ________ and I am calling to get the results of my tests from last week. Yes, sure I can hold.” He sat quietly and until he spoke I did not know someone else had picked up on the other end.

“Oh, that bad, huh. That’s not the news I had hoped for” was what I heard in a much more deadpan voice than the up-tempo salesman I had been listening to previously. In an even softer voice came, “Yes, I can come see the doctor next week. How soon does he want me to begin chemo again? I’m hoping I won’t have to start until after Christmas.” There was a pause as he listened followed by “I understand you’re just the nurse and can’t tell me. It’s just not the news I was hoping for.” Then came another pause before he said, “Wednesday at 2pm? Yes, I will be there. Thank you.”

He ended the call and just sat there staring down at the floor for what seemed like five minutes. As he raised his head up, he made eye contact with me and his moist eyes met mine. Without a single word, I smiled and he smiled a half-smile back. There was nothing else I could do for this perfect stranger who I imagine had just been told his cancer was back.

I won’t forget this experience. I will remember how good my life is and how blessed I am to have good health. My momentary airport friend will go through the weeks to come, facing the specter of ill-health and the possibility of impending death. I hope for the very best for him and owe a debt of gratitude for being accidentally included in his life for a few minutes. I have so much to be thankful for!

If you and your loved ones are blessed with good health, then the prospect of aging might be something you want to reconsider embracing. Ysabel Duron and others who have lived 60+ years know that now, especially now, is the time to appreciate that:

  • You know that diet is a lifestyle, not a temporary restriction on what you eat.
  • You know that people are more important than things and you now prefer to collect good people in your life.
  • You no longer take bucket lists seriously because you live every day fully.
  • You totally get the value of having kind people in you life.
  • You are okay spending time alone; in fact, you prefer it sometimes.
  • You still use the phone to talk to friends.
  • You have learned how to weed out the users, the time-sucks and the emotionally needy from your life.
  • You understand that being a good listener may be better than being a good talker.
  • You know that elders aren’t the only ones you can learn from; younger people have a perspective worth being open to.
  • You truly understand other people and have gained a real appreciation for all types of personalities.

And… you can wear whatever you choose. πŸ™‚


22 thoughts on “Appreciating Health and Years

  1. The kind of encounter you described so beautifully Eric is life giving and sheer gift. You just can’t have that kind of experience and walk away the same person. They are brief, but profoundly deep. Thanks for sharing it.

    • My pleasure in sharing it, Don. Most who follow and kindly comment on this blog lean empathic. It’s comforting, to me, to know that there exists a collective consciousness about this. And that some of us are heeding the message.

  2. When the reality hits that we only have a short life, some people get morose while others come alive. I’ve been wondering why there’s such a difference. Is it temperament? Is it choice?
    How can we live more fully while we’re alive? How can we invite others to join us?

    • I concur with your observation, Vincent, and find your questions fascinating though I do not have the answers. One facet I do believe plays a significant role in near all we do – is choice. Perhaps I’ll lead into another post with one or more of your thought provoking questions. Thanks for posing them.

  3. Hello Eric, The Quakers have a saying “That Friend speaks my mind” It is howI felt reading this post. I have friends battling serious and late stage cancers. Three years ago, my cousin Denise died after her breast cancer returned, this time in her spine, liver and lungs. I am so grateful for my good health, my good friends and family. It is a privilege to grow old!

    “β€œGrow old along with me! The best is yet to be, the last of life, for which the first was made.”


    • So very good to have you stop by and share your thoughts and personal experiences, Ellen. It is indeed a privilege to be chronologically gifted. I love the quote you shared. Thank you!

  4. There really is something to be said about being healthy – as in, not very sick. It’s a real blessing. This post is a great reminder for me to give thanks for that more often!

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