Is it because I am getting older, or busier, maybe a combination of the two? But here I am again looking at what happened in 2018, and thinking about what I want to do in 2019! Time for a bit of personal stock taking. When you have unreliable health you will know how difficult it is to make any plan, so for me it is important to prioritise my time to ensure that not a minute gets wasted. I have always been a person to take a chance when it comes my way, and as time passes, living with this disease has made me more empowered. Due to taking opportunities, many against my wife and medical team’s advice this year, I have done the #1 on my bucket list and spoken at the worlds largest cancer conference in Kuala Lumpur.
Taking my entire family to Florida, had become my number one wish, since I got sick. I have seen two wonderful grandchildren grow up as I have remained in remission, and in 2018 everything fitted! Their ages were good, and all of us could fly at the right time, so we did it! We did the ‘full monty,’ massive villa, swimming pool, eating out and shopping in the malls. What an incredible time! But it was very tiring for me, and I started to wonder how many long-haul flights I would ever do again?
Then came the invite to Kuala Lumpur! No said my wife, it’s too far!” I thought long and hard about it over several months, but it was yet again a once in a lifetime opportunity. So of course I did it, and it was an incredible experience, and don’t regret it for one minute. But recently I was diagnosed with a large deep vein thrombosis in my leg, and I was struggling to walk. It required an urgent scan and now I am on a special anti-clotting drug to protect me from any further issues, and hopefully break up the clot. The result of this is that if both those opportunities came now I would probably have to say no!! That is why I take more chances than I should.
On top of that I have been wiped out by a terrible cold, which for me takes weeks to get rid of. This is a fairly common occurrence after a busy year, which is the price I have to pay. So now it is becoming more difficult to decide what to do in 2019. As always, there are opportunities opening quickly, for me personally and our simPal charity, which is what I have worked so hard for. But what is normal for most, is a massive effort for me, the more I do, the more difficult my health can become. Taking opportunities has got me to where I am now, and I think that it is impossible for me to change. I have no desire to rest because my mind is still creative and challenging me. Fortunately there is a lot more I can do on the computer, involving more Skype meetings, and less travelling. But a lot of the enjoyment comes from meeting so many incredible people, also presenting to wonderful audiences. Of course I have to be sensible, but what am I saving myself for? If I can’t take chances at this stage in my life, when can I? My health is making my life narrower, with the list of things I can’t do, much larger than the things I can. Nature it seems is putting on the brakes naturally, so I will do my best to ensure that I take all the opportunities I possibly can.
I recently overheard a conversation between a young man and his father. He was talking about travelling and his father was telling him to be sensible and think about what else he could do with that money. Of course, finance plays a massive role in our lives, but we mustn’t let it dictate every decision we make. I have seen so many of my friends saving for their retirement, who don’t even reach it! The way things are today, the world can turn on its head in a moment, and through no fault of our own our dreams have been shattered. Of course most of us start out with a plan, but once we enter the ‘lottery of life’ anything is possible, both good or bad. For most of us, many opportunities will only come once, and not all of them are right for us of course. Personally I am a great believer in the ‘things happen for a reason’ rule, and also Karma. Life has been incredibly kind to me despite my illness etc.
Nobody gives you anything these days, and you need to be proactive to seek out opportunities. Once they come you must be decisive, and get on with your life whatever decision you have made. Life for me now is all about new experiences, and learning from them. If I am honest I am frustrated that my life has taken this incredible twist when I got sick, and not twenty years ago when my health was strong so I could take advantage of many more opportunities. But I guess that is life!! To enjoy it to the full I believe you need three key ingredients, time, money and health. It is very rare that you have all three at the same time. Normally money is the compensation for giving up your time and in many cases health too.
I would like to take this opportunity of thanking all my readers for the incredible support you have given me in the past year and look forward to some great discussions in the coming year. Happy 2019 to you all!!
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.