I just saw a friend today who told me that her brother-in-law is in Westchester Medical Center. He is in a running club and collapsed in the middle of a run a few days ago. He was …
I just saw a friend today who told me that her brother-in-law is in Westchester Medical Center. He is in a running club and collapsed in the middle of a run a few days ago. He was airlifted and operated on, and the outlook is positive, thank goodness. She said that it had only been three days since it happened, but it already felt like a month.
Her story, of course, reminded me of the loss of my dear husband John and how quickly our lives can change. In an instant, all the things we think we know and all the plans we make can be upended. We delude ourselves into thinking that we are standing on solid ground, when in fact, we have our feet firmly planted on either side of a fault line, and we have no way of knowing when the earth is about to shift. And shift violently.
But after the worst has happened, what are we to do? These are the three lessons you learn as you get older, dear ones.
1. Don’t worry. This is akin to the dictum “Don’t sweat the small stuff. And remember, it’s all small stuff.” Worrying accomplishes nothing. If you need to do something, do it. And if you’re sorry about something you did, apologize. Worrying won’t change anything.
2. Be grateful. Instead of spending time whining or wishing for things you don’t have, be thankful for what you do have. And don’t compare yourself to others. They have their own problems, regardless of the highly curated images that you see on their social media. If I wake up and don’t see my name in the obituaries, I know it’s going to be a great day.
3. Remember to sing, smile, and laugh. Every day. Turn up the radio real loud in the car and belt out your favorite rock anthem. Or find some golden oldies on YouTube and soak up some good tunes. Then smile. Step outside and beam at the snow. Listen for the birds singing and smile. Look in the mirror and grin at all those lovely laugh lines (aka wrinkles) you’ve created over the years. It’s all good. And speaking of laughing, it is an essential ingredient of every day. Watch a funny movie. Read a comical story. Listen to a witty joke. Laugh. Guffaw. Chortle. Trust me, it’s good for you.
Here’s a little secret. No one gets out alive. Our time here on earth is our chance to learn how to love each other, to make the most of our life, and to have some fun. Life’s too short (unless you are Beechwoods native Annabelle Rosenberger Holblinger who is due to turn 114 this year!) not to do so.
KATHY WERNER is a three-time National Newspaper Association Award winner for the Democrat, and a true member of the family.
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