Learning From the Manner In Which Those We Loved Lived Their Lives: The great & the not so great
Today, January 2nd would be my father’s 98th birthday, which is hard to believe. This is because he died at the age of 61, 36 years ago when I was only 23 years old.
A friend of mine wished me a happy new year as that is the norm at this time of year, raising some memories of our common friend. Though to be honest she was accenting the last 5 years or so of his life while he was experiencing some rather serious health conditions making his life more miserable.
I in turn took the liberty of pointing out the fact that this was one individual who spent the great majority of his life traveling the world, taking in the culture around him, enjoying his seaside home, and most of all enjoying fine dining by the water. He had a wonderful life in many ways, so why not celebrate that instead of the last 5 of his 73 years of life?
So, getting back to my father, he was an amazing man in so many ways. I have to credit him with installing the notion that I could indeed ‘own my own life, instead of having it be owned by others’ by finding a way to monetize my knowledge and interests. He was a dentist in private practice who absolutely loved what he did for a living. He knew from the age of 5 that this is what he wanted to do with his life despite coming from a home where he was raised by his single mother, his dad dying when he was only 12-years-old. During the 1930s life was hard enough for the majority of people, but having this other challenge was even more of a hardship, and yet, he never let go of his dream.
It took me 23 years to figure out the best way to employ my own interests and talents in the form of hypnotism and NLP overlaid on my many years in the mental health and physical health fields. And, to tell you the truth, it was worth taking the time to figure this out, not because it made me extremely wealthy, because it did not. However, what it did do was give me a most interesting and fulfilling life.
My dad had a way of telling jokes and stories to get his patients’ minds off the dental work he was doing, a form of hypnotism as my older sister explained to me — the hypnotist in the family — I just never really put those things together. And, indeed he did take a course in hypnotism during his dental school at Tufts Dental School according to my mom. Unfortunately, I don’t have his gift of telling jokes, but I most certainly have his gift for storytelling a very useful skill for both the professional application and that of being able to entertain and inspire others with my stories.
However, my father was most certainly human in the fact that he did not take care of his health in the way he could have, something that many healthcare providers suck at to be quite honest with you. So, one of the learnings from his life and death was to definitely address anything that comes along in the form of physical and emotional wellbeing as soon as I know that there is something to be addressed. This is especially important for those of us in healthcare for two reasons.
First, you need to be in your best health to be able to give your patients and clients your best care.
Second, you are a role model to those who employ you, so best you do what is necessary to be that role model so that your patients and clients are more likely to follow your advice and suggestions.
The other thing that I learned from my dad was the need to always have something to look forward to — that could be new experiences, or it could be learning new information to fulfill your curiosity, and applying it to your greater life moving forward. I believe my dad had accomplished all of his main goals and failed to create any others, making him feel old when his body was not performing in the way it did when he was younger. My answer to that is to always be curious, to always be learning, and to constantly stretch myself by moving outside my comfort zone by living in new countries, constantly learning new material in all the areas of life that I find interesting, and doing work that fulfills me, which makes such endeavors necessary to always be growing both as a professional and as a person.
I concluded my texts to my friend by telling her that I always do a factual assessment of those who have died of what I have learned from the manner in which they lived their lives. I believe that this is the best way to honor the impact that they had by being a part of our lives.
It would be really interesting to hear what you have learned about how best to upgrade your own life from those who have passed away.
Comment below so we can share this life-giving wisdom with one another.