Short stories, Travel and Health Information
One of the things we are all learning as a result of the Coronavirus pandemic is that Life is so unpredictable.
Many of us have been so busy working hard, creating wealth and accumulating savings for the future that we have forgotton how uncertain life is.
I am reminded as I pen thsese words of my friend David, a busy and successful obstetrician who for many years used to visit our clinic every Thursday afternoon to see patients. One evening, shortly before he retired, we had both finished seeing our patients earlier than we expected, so we poured ourselves cups of tea and sat chatting in his consulting room – a rare occurrence, because he was always rushing off after he finished seeing his patients to some hospital where he had a patient booked in for operation. He told me enthusiastically that day of his plans to go on a long trip to Europe the following year with his wife – something they had wanted to do for many years but had put off until he reached the age of 65 and was able to retire from the consultant staff of our large public hospital. David’s wife had just obtained the appropriate brochures from the travel agent and had obtained the relevant Lonely Planet, Insight and Footprint books from the library – and they were eagerly looking forward to spending three months the following year travelling through England, France, Italy and Germany in the European summer.
I will never forget that evening with him.
The next time I saw David was in hospital two months later – where he was a patient. He had just been diagnosed with metastatic pancreatic cancer. The disease had silently spread throughout his body while he was busy working as an obstetrician – and by the time it was discovered neither surgery nor chemotherapy could control it. David died six months to the day that we had our Thursday evening conversation about his planned post-retirement holiday – a holiday that he never got the chance to take because he was so busy working.
What happened to David is not uncommon among many business and professional persons who are so busy working hard and remaining focused on running fast along the relentless treadmill of success. They postpone living in favour of making money or achieving promotion – and so are unable to enjoy the legitimate fruits of their labours.
You cannot postpone living until the bank balance is built up and you have achieved the pinnacle of success in your field – because life is so uncertain. By the time you reach retirement age you will not be as fit and healthy as you are in your thirties and forties! So set aside time to enjoy life with your family, to travel, to do the things that you have wanted to do before you get too old – or too dead – for it.
One of the best bits of advice I received when I was younger was from my friend Dr Buddy Reid, who first told me about the Rule of Threes: Set aside three hours every week, three days every month and three weeks every year to take time off your routine work. Use this time to do something you really enjoy – listening to music, reading a book, playing a game or spending quality time with your loved ones.
Life is too short – and too unpredictable – to postpone living.