Wiederaenders: How Are You Living Your Life?
The threat of death changes a man, or at least the way he lives his life.
In 2005, when my brother died at 43 from heart failure/hypertension, it really threw my thinking.
Even now, when I feel a sharp pain somewhere, I hold my breath wondering what could be coming next.
Twice in 2006, friends or people I knew passed away, further driving the point home.
And, in the past few years I have learned of at least five deaths — a recent one, a co-worker; another, a close friend and colleague last year; then there was an old high school friend; and another high school buddy’s wife; and, finally, my father-in-law in 2020 — and they all gave me reason to seriously pause.
Lately, I am rejoining the Sunup Rotary Club of Prescott. It has been shocking to me to see (rather, not) so many people who are gone — passed away since 2010-14 when I was a member before. (The plus side is the club has actually revitalized itself with many new, younger faces, and those who remain are still going strong!)
Recently, however, I was attending an event when a young family next to us had to leave abruptly. We heard the wife say to her husband, “My brother just died.”
My world stopped, and my eyes teared up.
I did not know them or the victim, and I may be sensitive to these things because I’m getting older; actually, I think it’s because I have learned that you never know when it’s going to happen to you.
I now go to the doctor and vacation more. It also has slowed me down, in a good way. I look more at the sunrise, nature and the stars, and spend more time with our dog each day. I’ve taken up fun hobbies too, I drive a lot more slowly, and my wife and I get out to do projects or experience adventures (the zip-line at Out of Africa Wildlife Park in Camp Verde is awesome).
I also have shed 90 pounds — down to my high school fighting weight!? — over the past two years and am now sporting a blood pressure of 104 over 68. (I switched to a new lifestyle of eating much healthier, and I also exercise at least three times a week. Late edit — none of this was achieved with medication.)
Also, I love how people memorialize their loved ones, such as a neighbor who passed away years ago — the family put in his obituary that he didn’t know the meaning of the word “can’t.” No wonder I liked him so much.
The rules, folks, are to not worry about tomorrow, forget yesterday, and live today to the fullest. Eat a healthy diet, stay active mentally and physically, work to live life with a positive attitude, and always assume the best of others and situations you encounter.
PARTING SHOTS – How would you like people to remember you … for your career and work ethic or how you lived your life? Can it be both? What are your secrets?
Are you really living your life? If not, what are you waiting for?
Follow Tim Wiederaenders on Twitter @TWieds_editor. Reach him at 928-445-3333, ext. 2032, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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