Over the last few weeks I have been battling pneumonia and bronchitis. Thankfully I’m on the mend now! Through this period I faced many hours of downtime causing me to think and reflect on many things.
As the Holiday Season roles in, I’ve been making a list of my top 10 things I want to appreciate even more for the season. The list becomes a bit like a gratitude list.
Here are a few of my items.
Understanding: When my Mom got older and sick I never understood what she was going through and how everyday was a new battle. She fought multiple myeloma for about 10 years – most people die in 3-4 years from this disease.
Not having energy to engage in my usual activities has helped me understand more about how she must have felt. Certainly I didn’t have a terminal diagnosis, but was sicker than I’ve ever been before. To expand on this, as parent’s age, it is probably customary that their children really don’t understand what they are feeling; it is hard to communicate sometimes. My children have also had the same outlook I had with my Mom. I want them to understand, but even though I told them I’d never been this ill before, they still didn’t get it. Granted my children did bring some groceries but what I really wanted was a daily phone call from each of them. Communicating expectations is important. Too often we just assume others know what we want or need.
Friends: During these past few weeks I have realized those you can count on without asking are quite special. My children have grown up, live 40 miles away and have lives of their own. Several friends and several clients who knew of my illness have been quite consistent in checking on me, offering to do errands and giving me support. They check in on me and call to talk, offer support and help out in other ways. I get texts, emails and phone calls. I doubt they know how much I appreciated this outreach.
The point here, is that it doesn’t take a lot of time to make a call. The caller will never know how meaningful that action is!
Time: I see the reinforcement of just how limited our time can be in this world and on a flip of a dime, or an ailment, everything can change. When you read of young people dying in accidents because they were texting, driving drunk, or overdosing on drugs it makes us sad. Life cut short almost before it begins is tragic. Aging is a natural process even if we may still feel 16 in our minds! That’s why planning – yes, that includes financial planning, is so very essential!
Making memories, making time for relaxation, vacation, and friends needs to happen more. Today I believe our lives are on such a fast pace that we feel continually rushed. I hear this from so many in the workforce. Because we feel rushed, we hardly enjoy events we go to because we think about the next thing we have to do. Yes, it can certainly be self imposed stress! This holiday season I’ve told my kids I want their time for Christmas, to not be on their phones, not be in a rush to get somewhere else. I want to cook their favorite things. Just being present is present enough; truly I don’t need a thing other than this!
A Plan: Everyday I help my clients make or update a plan for the rest of their lives. Life, however, doesn’t always go as planned. This illness has brought home the realization that even with a good plan in place, I wasn’t prepared mentally to be out of be out of commission. I imagine this is a struggle for us all.
The items listed above made me appreciate the times and memories I have had. I’ll be mindful of being more grateful for the ones I will make in the future. Making a list of what you want the most is a great thing for your future. So, I challenge you to make a list of you top 10 things you want. Happy Holidays!