When Illness Strikes

September 7, 2014

Sad and upset woman deep in thought

I recently was laid low by a relatively minor malady—shingles. I experienced itchiness, fatigue, some hot and cold swings, but nothing major.

In this last year, friends have been laid low by cancer, sarcoidosis, and other auto-immune diseases. I feel lucky to have dodged the bullet this time. But as we boomers age, this is the news we’ll be sharing with each other, more and more.

How are we dealing with it?  How are you dealing with it?

I know many of you are thinking of this new year with lots of positive plans, including retirement and what you’ll do in this phase of life. I think in the midst of the positivity, we can also think of other scenarios.

Each of my friends with cancer, after the adjustment to the initial shock, is thinking positively of living with a chronic disease. Each is grateful for what they have, mostly the love and support of friends and family, and good medical care.

With each new ache or pain, I think we get a reminder that we only have a lease on life.  Continuing with this metaphor, we don’t own our lives, we rent them for a while. So of course the biggest question becomes what are we going to do with this rental? And for boomers, the question now is, what is our legacy? Writ small, writ large, what is the legacy you want to leave?

I think that’s what is important to put on your list of goals. Steps you take towards reaching your legacy goals. It’s more important than how much weight you’ll loose, or how you step up your exercise plan.

So I suggest not to do anything radical, but add to your list if you still make them, and in between the ‘getting more fit’ and decluttering’, think and write about the kind of person you want to be remembered as, the legacy of meaning and action you leave, and what’s really important to you these days.