Is your glass half full or half empty?

As I look out at the plum tree in our backyard, I notice tell tale signs of the coming spring. Green buds that will be flowers are filling out the branches and I see a smattering of blooms already venturing out. Though predictable, the suddenness of this burst of new life which was absent just one week ago is always astounding and sometimes a little unnerving. Another spring is springing, the clock keeps ticking, and time marches on.

 

As I get older I cannot help but wonder what this year holds in store. Will we see a rebound in the economy that we all hope and pray for? Will someone finally figure out how to help the long-term-unemployed and those victims of the mortgage debacle or will these folks be forced to continue somehow surviving on their own? How far out is the next bubble and what will fill it this time? How will we be physically or mentally different a year from now?

 

Wow, re-reading the last paragraph I notice a rather negative line of thinking. It has been a challenging few years but there are good things as well as bad. Optimism and pessimism are sides of the same coin.

 

So I thought what about taking a look at things from the perspective of that old glass of water, the one that we often refer to as either half empty or half full. If I was a negative person – aka glass half empty – what might I be concerned with as another year is added on? Will this be the year that:

1.    I become too old to beat my son at racket ball?

2.    My vision gets worse and I struggle just to see the TV at times

3.    I have to reduce the weights I lift by some amount while working out

4.    I decide that I will no longer bend down to pick up a dime but only stoop for a quarter or higher

5.    A hearing aid enters the picture

6.    I lose someone close to me

7.    I develop some long term ailment

 

Unfortunately this list can go on forever.

 

What if every one of these potential negative events occurs this year, how could I respond? Albeit that would be a nasty year by any standards, it is not impossible. How might a glass half full perspective help to survive and in fact continue with a desire to live more?

1.    My son is getting better and faster and stronger growing into a man and along the way his skill at racket ball has grown to exceed mine. I gladly hand over the crown.

2.    I can quickly be fitted with a stylish pair of spectacles and my vision will be as good as when I was a kid, maybe even better.

3.    I am still working out to maintain my strength, balance and stamina – never surrender! So I cannot lift as much now – who am I trying to impress anyway?

4.    With inflation over the years, a quarter is worth today about what a dime was not long ago so nothing has really changed here.  🙂

5.    With a hearing aid I can better follow conversations around me and minimize my “pardon me, can you repeat that?” requests. And people can hardly detect that I am wearing one.

6.    I learn to never take for granted the people who are important to me, I learn to treasure each moment today since tomorrow is not guaranteed, and I learn that pain is a part of life that no amount of optimism will ever erase 100 percent.

7.    Similar to #6, I live each day as best I can and appreciate each breath that I take.

 

Keep on blooming you plum trees! I will enjoy you today for all you are worth.

 

Bring it on life – no one said it would be easy.

 

I can think of no better way to end than to share a poem from Ralph Waldo Emerson who had it figured out when he wrote the definition of a successful life. I believe that living such a life – a glass half full life – is within the reach of each of us. It’s all about our attitude and how we choose to view the world.

 

To laugh often and much;

To win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children;

To earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends;

To appreciate beauty, to find the best in others;

To leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch or a redeemed social condition;

To know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived.

This is to have succeeded.

A Passion for Retirement

Life in general without passion is less than what we all hope for.

Retirement is no different and it can be even more important to have a passion to get us up and moving and really living our retired lives to the fullest.

Take a look at my guest post with some insights into the importance of passion in our retired lives.

http://www.happyhealth.net/1322/a-passion-for-retirement

 

Would you donate a kidney?

The National Kidney Registry maintains a living database of kidney donors with a unique twist. In order to have access to the database and compatible donors, you or someone in your family must donate one of your kidneys to keep the chain going. With 200 transplants facilitated in 2010 they have literally saved the lives of people who without a kidney transplant might not be here today.

According to Katie Couric and the CBS News, every 90 minutes someone dies waiting for a kidney transplant and there are currently more than 87000 Americans on the waiting list for a new kidney.

Physically we can live with only one kidney. The actual transplant procedure takes about three hours. Modern medications to prevent rejection have come a long way and today donors do not necessarily need to be genetically similar to the recipient. A kidney transplant is considered a life-extending procedure typically enabling the recipient to live 10-15 years longer than if kept on dialysis. The bottom line is that for those with failing or failed kidneys, their life depends on a transplant.

As I learned more about this service and the incredible impact it had on families everywhere, I asked myself what would it take for me to donate a kidney? If someone I loved needed a kidney and I was a compatible donor, would I willingly offer myself or would I hesitate?

I think that all of us would like to believe that we would selflessly without hesitation say yes to immediate family members in need. Deep inside, we feel that we would likely agree to help out a close friend. But just how far is each of us willing to go? At what point would we say “no”?

I came up with a few questions to help me better understand myself and tried to answer them honestly.

  • Would I donate a kidney to my wife to save her life?
  • Would I donate a kidney to my child?
  • What about a more distant family member?
  • What about a good friend?
  • Would I donate a kidney for money? If so how much – what is my kidney worth to me in dollars and cents?
  • What unique or extreme circumstances might lead me to become a donor?
  • Would I ever unequivocally say no?

After thinking through how I would personally answer each question, I realized how difficult it is to make a final decision without actually being in the situation. For most of us it is a no brainer when it comes to family members and even close friends. But where would we absolutely say no? Without intimate knowledge of the people involved and their lives and their particular story, I don’t think we can know for sure how we would react.

I like to believe that for any given situation people will make the difficult choices to help their fellow human beings. Blood is thicker than water but love conquers all! Why else is it that we get a tear in our eye when we hear of the struggles of poor children around the world or the impact of disasters on the innocent? Why do we stand united against injustice and abuse? It is because we are basically good people and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise!

After I completed this exercise, I took a look at the list of those I would be willing to donate a kidney. I realized that these are the most important people in my life. Important enough for me to theoretically undergo an operation and donate one of my organs! But when was the last time I reached out to them, when did I last offer a good deed to these most significant in my life?

Although we may be fully willing to donate a kidney to someone we love, the likelihood is we will never be called upon to do so. So we need to show our love in slightly less dramatic ways. However we choose to show that we care is up to us. Just remember the fact we FEEL the love is not necessarily apparent until we SHOW the love.

Who would you add to your list?