As most of my friends will tell you I am not really into massive celebrations, unless it is football related! So if I am honest, much as I enjoy the family and friend time of Christmas and the New Year, it never really feels like a time of celebration. I always have the same hope each year, which is that the coming year is an improvement on the previous ones. Of course, it never works like that, and in recent times, I have had some massive highs, followed by some very bad lows, never really quite sure what will happen next!
So I am really going to tempt fate now! I am starting to feel positive, and this is usually where things start to go wrong, but I have seen it before, so know what to expect.The only thing I normally plan for the future is my football season ticket, and I only buy one season at a time! But it feels different now.There are some really interesting projects for me to do, with things appearing for later in the year. How do I approach this then?
Going on past experience, my health gets unreliable each year, just when I think things are going well. But I have actually agreed to take on some fixed commitments for this year. They are interesting opportunities, that come round rarely in life, so I decided to ‘go for it’ and although there is a lot of preparation to be done, I have my fingers crossed that I am well enough, to do them.
This made me think about how different my life planning, is since my diagnosis, but I have also noticed massive changes in our society,that seem to be affecting everyone with their planning too. I now live my life very much day to day, as I have found it very demoralising, making future plans and being unwell, and therefore unable to achieve them. Psychologically, I get a feeling of failure.
But there are many things that have happened in the world, that have meant it is now difficult for most of us to make many long term plans. Things like, the economy, pensions and investments, the job market, to name but a few. It seems that we all feel a lot more insecure than we did. So although we will know the direction that we want our life to go, we will never be sure of the exact route, as things happen, to cause us to change direction.
Gone are the days when we got a job, worked for one or two companies through our lifetime and retired with a lovely pension.Most people will change jobs frequently, and are unable to save adequately for their retirement. More people are renting, as they are unable to afford their own house, so are unable to feel the element of security that a lot of my generation are benefiting from.
My friends and I, and others of this age group, are feeling the ‘economic winds of change’ and it makes us feel uncomfortable. However, I have spoken to many young people, my sons included, that have now become accustomed to this way of life, but they seem to have the ‘worry about it tomorrow’ attitude. They know, that unless they have a remarkable slice of luck in their life, they will never own large houses, and retire, financially comfortable.
If I look on my household calendar, it is completed with various social functions throughout the year, my wife completes our social diary, with military precision. However if I ask my boys what they are doing at the weekend, they never know until Friday night! That said, they are very relaxed about things, and in many ways I am quite envious of that attitude. I don’t think I ever had that, even when I was younger.
In summary, it seems that although my life planning ability has changed, everyone else’s has too, for different reasons, and we are now slowly having to adapt to short term planning. It is very difficult to change the habits of a lifetime, so many people are struggling to come to terms with what is happening.
I have found it extremely difficult to adapt, and if I am honest, still struggle with it, but the positive is that I am never sure what tomorrow will bring, good or bad, so life is never predictable! I know that I would be thinking differently if I was in the work place, but I guess I am very much ‘old school.’
Have you always had long term plans, or are you used to just turning up and letting it happen? Are you now having to adjust the way you think about things? Has an unexpected ‘health issue’ turned your life upside down? What does the New Year have in store for you? I look forward to hearing from you.
I am an official support partner of the Grove Hotel in Bournemouth. The only hotel in the UK specifically for people affected by cancer and other life limiting conditions.