“Stacey, looking at your paper-work and all you and your family have been through this past year – go for it! Do things while you are healthy and can enjoy life.”
At first, I was very happy to hear these words; It gave me much reassurance to know that my disability coordinator was giving me the blessing to travel. After 25 years of dedicated teaching service, it is odd to not be “working”. I still feel guilt. How can I not be working? I am alive? I think my parents taught me this work ethic – work first, then play. What happens, though, when statistically speaking, you weren’t expected to live past one year? Does one still work then play? According to my coordinator – no. I am to “live life”. These words – on the surface – sound great. Thinking about the words this week sent me into a bit of a nose-dive. Reading “between” the lines indicates that I have a life-expectancy that may be .. well.. shortened. It was difficult to have someone put the “life-mirror” in my face this past week and to not believe I can beat the statistics.
Speaking of statistics, the second whammy was when Kevin and I met with our life insurance agent this week as my “term” insurance is up. Yup – I don’t qualify for term insurance anymore and my policy fees increased. Once again, I became a grim statistic this week – in the eyes of the life insurance statisticians.
My brother posted a Peanuts cartoon today on facebook. I’m not sure if it was meant for me – but I am wearing it anyhow. Charlie Brown and Snoopy are sitting on the end of a dock looking at the water. Charlie says, “One day – we will die.” Snoopy replies, “Yes – but on the other days, we will live.” Brilliant. Perspective kicks in once more. So much better to see life than death. So much better to be positive than fatalistic.
Today – the sun is shining. It’s a Friday. I am enjoying another day of life. To hell with the stats. I have lived longer than I had expected to anyhow – and am fighting each day to live longer. And it’s not just length I want – it is quality. It is so easy to slip into routine. It is so easy to be mundane. It is so challenging to see beauty in every moment. It takes energy and it takes courage. Slow down. I need always to slow down. I have not even reflected on life over the past few days – no blog – no stopping – it was house-work. I had energy. I reflect better when I have no energy. This week’s nose-dive began as a bad thing and ended as a reminder to me to wake up and slow down.
So – today will be one of those “other” days that Snoopy had referred to. I have my brother, Jim, to thank for that. And my disability coordinator. And I guess Charles Schultz too!