Thursday, March 17, 2011

Loss and the Gift of Life

It’s great to have plans. I am a strong advocate for all kinds of planning, including financial/budgeting, pre-purchased tickets for sports and entertainment events, advance reservations for travel, a well-annotated schedule/calendar, and a simple to-do list. As you know from reading my prior blog entries, I am a big believer in achieving lifestyle dreams via retirement planning. Now here comes (as I like to call it) “THE BIG BUT”.

Having plans does not always protect you from a turn of events or unexpected misfortune. We can’t live our lives anticipating disaster, but sometimes we find ourselves having to face it and figure out how to move through it. Our plans may have to be modified on the fly.

We all face losses during our lives. The circle of life assures that people we love will depart this plane of existence. We could be forced to deal with the loss of a job or a home. Our health will be threatened when we face injury or serious illness. Relationships sometimes fail, leaving a hole in our psyche. Burglars may steal our belongings. Mean and greedy people take our innocence. Losses big and small test our resilience.

Living life requires a balance of planning and joyous abandon. Love your family and friends vociferously and generously. This year it may be prudent to put off buying that new car you desire, but next year you might go on that European cruise that’s been a dream for so long. We can’t PLAN so relentlessly that we never DO. Don’t put off living, because none of us know how long we will have this gift of life.

Over the past few weeks, two long-time friends passed away from cancer. Someone close to me has lost a home. Financial woes threaten the livelihood of another. It takes courage to navigate life and flexibility to forge new paths. Count your blessings and, as Plato wrote, “Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.”

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