Thursday, July 15, 2010
Take the Time to Enjoy Life
As you know, many of my articles are amplifications of my responses to questions from those living with Kennedy's Disease. Yesterday I received an email update from a spouse. In an earlier email I commented they needed to "live life to the fullest." I felt they should not worry about what might happen in regards to the disease in five or ten years. Yes, the disease will progress. However, no premature worrying about what might happen will help. It will only do harm (mentally, emotionally, and physically) as well as strain relationships. I am not aware of any two people with the DNA defect that had the exact same symptoms or the same progression. In my forties I was still climbing mountains and hiking a couple of weekends a month. I know of others that worked (including manual labor jobs) into their sixties. There are men that were snow skiing or hunting into their mid-sixties. I also know of men in their late 70's that are still active. My last bit of advice was that while living life to the fullest they should not stick their heads in the sand regarding the future. They can still plan ahead for potential changes in their lifestyle while living a more fulfilling life each day.
In her update she mentioned, "The advice about livng life to the fullest is awesome! I do try to do that I think. One thing that I wish we did well was take time for us as a couple. It's hard to ask people to take our kids, and babysitters are expensive. Also, we don't go on many vacations, mainly because of the cost, but I want us to make those special memories while the kids are young."
Yes, living life to the fullest is an interesting subject. In my opinion, the key is to take the time to enjoy life. Often, these are just moments where the focus moves from work, chores, repairs, etc. to the ones you love. Refocusing, even for a few minutes, changes your perspective as well as the perspective of the person you are now living that moment with.
As you have heard me say many times, I have a wonderful wife a.k.a. caregiver, lover and best friend. She has a way of making moments together special. For example, while I was still working, my wife would meet me for lunch almost every day (except when I was traveling or had meetings) and we would picnic at Valley Forge National Park. It did not matter whether the weather was nice weather or not. The object of this hour together every day was to share and show you care. Once we picked out a spot where we could be alone (together), we could just enjoy each other and our surroundings. Our picnics together never got old.
Before we moved to Philadelphia, we ate lunch together most every day in Seattle, York and Lakeland. I was still pretty agile in my 30s and our picnic lunches would always end with a walk around one of the lakes in town. The cost of being alone together for an hour is only the gas used to meet somewhere.
Something else we used to do regularly was to "get lost" on a couple of weekend days a month. Most of these trips were unplanned. We would just hop in the car and explore the countryside around us. The nice thing about these trips is that you can bring the children along also. It does not have to be a long elaborate trip. It could be a visit to a city or state park, museum, lake, bird sanctuary, zoo, or possibly an evening sail. The idea behind these trips, even if it is just for a few hours, is that you are doing something together (the two of you or the family). For those few hours you are focused on each other and not locked into your "home world and routines." We called it "getting lost" because most times we never really knew where we were heading until we started driving down the road. If a place looked interesting, we would stop and check it out. We discovered some interesting places and became a little closer because of these moments. My point is that you just need to be a little imaginative and make it fun.
Unfortunately, since my hiking days are behind me and any walks I take are in the wheelchair, our impromptu moments together have declined. We find ourselves planning trips and having many more considerations before just heading down the road. We need to discover new ways to help us recapture those special moments once again.
How do you live life to the fullest? Is there anything special you do to enjoy life together?