Its time for another blog, and I'm in "summer mode", so I'm choosing NOT to write about business; I'm feeling more reflective at the moment. I've been walking about 5 miles a day now to stay active since I'm having a few health issues - nothing serious but enough to stop me from doing my Bikram Yoga. It's strange what pops into your head from time to time, especially when you are by yourself for 90 minutes out in nature.
At almost 62 years old, I have no choice but to look at life differently than when I was in my 30s. In the past 2 weeks,
I've had 2 tests/medical procedures looking for (or the lack thereof) 2 completely different forms of cancer. To clear up any question about where this blog is heading, both tests came back with good news; one test result was "stable" (which is the best a kidney cancer survivor can hope for), and the other ended up being a "false alarm".
A friend asked me right before my second test "What is it like mentally, preparing for this type of test? It must be very heavy". Truth be told, it’s really not that way for me, as I've stopped worrying about dying a good while ago. What I AM afraid of is becoming an invalid (and invalid), but those fears will be the subject of another blog post. The unknown does make someone like me a little apprehensive, and I HATE the tests, and the preps, and the probing that goes along with them; but the lead-up to the "results" really don’t freak me out. I will say that it is a relief when the good news "comes back", and I imagine it may be a little scary for Carol and the kids the night before the tests, but I've gone through this 4 or 5 times now and I guess I've become somewhat good at controlling my emotions during the process. I don't know if I could have been able to "handle" this in quite the same way 5 years ago, but I believe strongly that doing yoga for those 5 years has had a profound effect on me in this regard. One day I may have to deal with the "wrong" phone call from the Doctor with the test results - but for now, I'm actually pretty healthy. For that I am very thankful.
I met a man about 20 years ago whose nickname was "Widge". He was the father of one of my son's friends, and his soccer coach. He was a very nice man and I have no idea how he got his nickname - but no matter as it has nothing to do with this story. Whenever I see someone out and about, my natural greeting is "Hey... how are you doing?" Most people respond with some variable of "fine, thanks for asking". But not Widge. His standard response was always "Haven't had a bad day in my life!" I loved the attitude this response exudes, and it obviously had an effect on me because it's been popping into my head several times during my walks recently - so I decided to frame a blog post around this "tude". I haven't seen him in a long time, but my guess is that he meant it - and he may still use the “line” if you met him tomorrow. What a great goal for anyone - to never have a bad day!
About 12 years ago, I was having dinner with a good friend to celebrate my 50th birthday, and she toasted me with the following: "The 50s is going to be the best decade of your life". And you know she was right. It kind of became my mantra, but I adjusted it a little to approach my life with "TODAY is going to be the best day of my life!"
A friend called me last week for advice. Actually he called me more to talk, and to tell me his story, but what he really wanted to know was "what I thought”. After listening to his situation for a few minutes I responded as follows: "Xxxxx - are you happy?" When he said no, I said: "Whatever you choose to do about your situation, do what will make you happy." And while not always easy, that is how I try to live my life every day, and how I make important life decisions, and to instill this attitude in my boys. I can’t honestly say that I’ve never had a bad day, and I’m sure I could think of some if I tried… but I prefer not to look backwards – and always look “forward”.
Everyone has a different definition of "happy", but for me, my pleasures are pretty simple. A good day for me would include any combo of the following:
• A phone call with my kids
• Handling something for a customer (not necessarily selling them something)
• A good meal (with no red meat, a glass of white wine, and a chocolate chip cookie)
• Watching my wife water her plants and flowers
• Sweating (and then a dip in the pool)
• Spending time with my grandchildren
• Working on a Home Improvement project
• Etc., etc., etc.
Everyone's list would be different, but think about it... one has to conceptualize what makes them happy, before they can make a conscious effort to include what makes them happy in their everyday life. I don't get to do the things on my list every day, but I strive to be happy all the time, and base all of my life decisions on the basic premise that "today" is going to be the best day of my life. When you think about things this way, you avoid sweating the small stuff. Bottom line is if you wake up healthy in the morning... yesterday was a pretty damn good day!