by Bob Sparrow
I’ve had some time over the last couple of weeks to reflect on what a new year really means. A new year suggests we get to reboot, start over, fix all things from the previous year. But reality sinks in shortly after the ball drops, the reality that you’re really just continuing the previous year, as nothing has really changed except the date. “Happy New Year”, you tell everyone and they return in kind, and you really mean it and you hope they do too – everyone wants the new year to be happy. But I entered this new year with a mind that was occupied by some not-so-happy events that took place in our neighborhood and family as 2017 came to close.
As some of you know, we’ve lived in a great neighborhood for over 32 years and we’re not even the longest standing members of our ‘hood. Unlike most neighborhoods, we actually know our neighbors, many of them – some 20+ couples on two streets. Our kids have grown up together, we socialize together and we take care of one another. When neighbors are sick or have issues that restrict their mobility, we take turns bringing in dinners, running errands and doing whatever it takes to help the neighbor in need. It’s a great feeling knowing that someone close by has your back – actually a lot of someones.
Because we’re so close, we share in both the joy and the pain of our fellow neighbors and the end of 2017 brought significant pain to three couples. Three men suffered hospitalizing, life-threatening events. I won’t go into the specific ailments or names of the families involved, but at the end of last year, our neighborhood was reminded of both how important our health is and how quickly things can change. To hear and feel the anguish and fear of the unknown from the spouses of these three men is indeed life changing. The sad news in our neighborhood was compounded by the news that one of our very close relatives also had health issues requiring hospitalization. We somehow mistakenly believe that really bad things are not going to happen to us, but they do, and it really hits home when it’s family or neighbors or anyone that you love.
Through emails, phone calls, text and face-to-face conversations we have shared amongst ourselves the progress of each of these four people, hoping and praying that all four would successfully come through their individual struggles and be able to return to the life they once knew.
So yes, the ending of last year just flowed into the beginning of this year with the fate of these three men and a close relative on our minds. So forgive me if I take this opportunity to remind as many people as I can how important our health is. Some things we can’t control, like genetics, but some things we can, so please remember:
- Be thankful for your good health if you have it
- Never take good health for granted
- Take better care of yourself
- Let me share an idea that doesn’t require you to spend thousands on the latest fad diet, or go to a ‘healing’ spa:
- Also, get to know your neighbors; there are probably some really nice people just down the street who may need your help, or who might help you in a time of need
Remember, “Life is a one time gift”