You never think it’s going to happen to you, especially if you’re relatively young, as I was on the eve of Super Bowl Sunday when I was looking at big screen TV’s in the local electronics store. I simply keeled over and, after the sirens, flashing lights and long recovery, my life changed forever and I found myself confronted with these challenges:
Disability: At six foot one, I was big and athletic and, at thirty-nine, I was counting on having quite a few more competent years ahead of me. Now I walk with a cane and some of the sprightlier little old ladies now open my doors for me.
The second is a natural byproduct of the first: Depression. Common in heart attack survivors, you might find yourself having to do more than just bucking up to the black cards that were dealt you. Put your pride aside, talk it out in therapy and obtain a prescription for anti-depressants if necessary.
Thirdly: This is it! You’ve just been afforded the ultimate warning and matters of life and death are now immediate. The cigarettes that were supposedly making you look so cool won’t just kill you some day, they’re killing you right now. The same goes for those trans-fats and lardy snacks. Necessity is the mother of invention so it’s now time to invent a new you.
The fourth is planning: Now that my mortality has been proven outright in such a dramatic fashion, what if the will I scribbled out had been all I’d left behind? The probate, alone, would have cost fifteen percent of my estate, and what about taxes? Now would be the time for a living will or trust.
Lastly: if ever there was a time to realize what’s truly important in life, I need only think about what I nearly lost. If there’s an upside to all of this, it’s that I’m finally making the most of each and every moment of each and every day. My family knows that I love them because I tell them so. Those I’ve slighted know how sorry I am because I’ve sought them out and apologized like I should have a long time ago. No longer waiting for the right time to do things, I now know the only time is now. No longer waiting for things to happen, I’m taking the steps to make them happen.