I’m not going to spend a lot of time on the subject of insurance in this issue. I want to share with you some personal thoughts instead. Some people get melancholy on Christmas or birthdays. For me it seems to be this time of the year. The months and years seem to go by so quickly. Here we are into the month of February already and I just don’t think I’ll ever catch up. Does this seem familiar?
Before I turned 65, I think I was in pretty good health. Within six months, I felt as though I had physically begun the process of “coming apart at the seams”. First came the eyes. The cataracts had to be removed and I needed regular glasses instead of the drugstore reading glasses. Before I had adapted to all of that, I thought that my osteoarthritis was acting up, because I was aching all over. After months of testing, it was determined that I also had a rare type of rheumatoid arthritis that could not be seen in the blood. Monthly infusions are slowing down the progression and pain killers are making it tolerable. Then came the abominable abdominal problems with breathing issues and hospitalization for double pneumonia.
Don’t leave me now! Some of you may be saying, “I don’t want to be hearing about all of your problems. I’ve got problems of my own.” I’m not mentioning all of this, so you will feel sorry for me. I’m trying to build some rapport. I know some of you have had similar health histories and some of you have had far worse health problems than I have. The topic I want to discuss is “How are we dealing with it and how are we feeling now?”
I want to preface this discussion with a disclaimer: I am not a doctor, psychologist, nutritionist, or certified counselor. Recently, I’ve concluded that I have not dealt with my illnesses wisely, but I’ve learned a few things along the way. Fortunately, I talk with folks our age almost every day. I’ve learned that when they ask, “How are you doing”, they generally don’t want a daily blow-by-blow reply about my health. Some may try to avoid me altogether, rather than listen to my personal woes.
My friend Lee comes to mind. He’s recently passed, but certainly not forgotten. One of the reasons I remember him so vividly and maybe others not so much, is that when I would ask him, “How are you doing”, He would always answer, “Fantastic!” It seemed to be a psychological thing. Not only did he feel better saying, “Fantastic” at least a dozen times a day, but every time he said it to me. I felt better about the way I felt. It was no different when we visited him for the last time, literally on his death bed. “Lee, how are you feeling?” He, without hesitation replied, “Fantastic!”
Last year, I met a retired fellow who was partially responsible for putting together a monthly social gathering for neighbors to have breakfast and socialize with people they might never have met otherwise. I would say, “Steve, how’re you doing” or “What do you think about this weather?” All these types of questions he would answer with, “Awesome”! People started calling him “Awesome Steve”. I’ve been called a lot of things, but never “Awesome”. Steve wasn’t really awesome. He was just a regular guy. But Steve had an awesome attitude that made him and the people he encountered feel awesome. Wow! What a legacy.
This not to say that we should live in a fantasy world and ignore our ailments or crises. Maybe there are better ways to deal with them. I just heard Dave Ramsey on the radio say that if we’re properly prepared, we can turn a crisis into a mere inconvenience. He also said that there doesn’t seem to be as many of them as before. I believe that being diagnosed with cancer is a crisis and having a flat tire is an inconvenience. My problem is that I get all upset over a lot of things that are inconveniences.
I have found that the amount of time and worry that I put into small problems often seem to be not a whole lot different than the time and worry I put into larger problems. For me, worry equals stress and I’m convinced that stress exacerbates all our problems. I truly believe that stress kills. I truly believe that stress can shorten our lives. I believe that stress reduces the quality of our lives. I believe that I’m already in that gray area where I have far more years behind me than I have ahead of me.
I think I have some control. “Today is the first day of the rest of my life”. I can plan better. I can better differentiate between big problems and little problems. I can see the doctor on a timely basis. I can take my medication in a timely manner. I can eat a more balanced diet. I can remember to take my vitamins and supplements on a more regular basis. I can eat fewer sweets and snacks. I can take more time to exercise. I can make an attitude adjustment. I can present myself in a more positive way when I meet and greet people. I can get more restful sleep. I can organize better. I can put more trust in my God. I can try to help others on a more regular basis. I can contribute more to feeling better. I can worry less about a “Bucket List” and concentrate more on a realistic list that I can accomplish and will make me feel better about myself and my future.
I’ve just made out my New Year’s resolutions. I haven’t done that in years. How do YOU feel? I hope that this has helped you more easily enter the new year. And….if we can assist you with your insurance needs, just give us a call.
Orion Steen is a licensed agent and specializes in Medicare supplemental plans. He has been advising his clients on life and health insurance matters in Arizona for over 45 years. He can be reached for related questions by E-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org, call toll-free 888-846-6891 or cell 623-846-6891.