You’ve heard the old adage that you can’t control what happens to you in life, only how you react or respond to it. How true that is as we all age. Despite our best efforts to be healthy, everyone comes with an “expiration date” as a good friend once said. The big question is when your date kicks in…
Recently, my dad was diagnosed with lymphoma leukemia – the good news is that it is a very mild case. My father is 78 and overcame prostate cancer just two years ago, which was also at a very slow growth stage. The doctors are surprisingly low key about this diagnosis, despite evidence that the cancer has spread to Dad’s bones and blood. This particular form is extremely non-aggressive, and they claim the recovery rate is very high.
What really surprised me is my father’s attitude. At 78, he is the oldest living male in his family history, outliving my cousin by two years so far. Many years ago, he told me he never expected to live past 50 since both his parents passed away naturally at that age. When my parents called to tell us the news of the new diagnosis, my dad was nonplussed. “Hey, if you live long enough, these things are bound to happen,” was his reaction.
It made me stop and think – could I have the same attitude or reaction? How many times has something disappointing or frightening happened and we ask ourselves, “Why me?” Is my father’s lack of expectation regarding his longevity a factor? If you don’t have “expectations” then you can’t be disappointed. That’s a powerful place to come from…can I do it? Can you?
The verdict is still out on what will happen next. But one factor is for sure: attitude matters and my father is setting a strong example for me to live by.