Facing A Topic that May Seem Taboo.
In January 2018, my son Evan recommended that our family read the book, Being Mortal, by Atul Gawande. My mom read it twice and recommends it to her sister and friends. She asked me if I read it yet...well....it's a book on aging and death. Taboo topic to some, and something we will all need to face.
I finally read it. For me, this book spurred new ideas and a better perspective on how my millennial son views life. He truly lives in the moment with a purposeful career and a balanced, harmonious lifestyle as a minimalist within his means.
Reading this book and related discussions with my mom made me reflect deeper on life, my actions, and the look at death with a realistic point of view. Being Mortal, shares stories about other people's experiences as told by the award-winning author and surgeon.
I'm grateful to Evan for his recommended read. Our family has a better idea on maintaining a quality of life with grace and dignity until the very end.
Serendipitously, I was a guest on the Kupuna Connections TV program on Olelo53 (to be aired in November) and am working on a workshop with Cullen Hayashida, PhD, who is the Senior Elder Care Programs Advisor for St. Francis Healthcare System of Hawaii.
To prepare for this upcoming Active Aging workshop for St. Francis, I've been gathering "intel" through informal conversations with recently retired people. Generally, people look forward to retirement. Collect their retirement and finally live the life of leisure. Travel. Golf. Pickle Ball. Tick off the bucket list.
And there are those with retirement within the next 5 years who want to do something more, but are not sure what it is yet or how to start planning and preparing for those golden years.
And there are a few people who have a terminal illness and keep hoping to prolong life. No matter what it costs...Let's send them love, healing prayers and Divine Light.
If and when you read this book, Being Mortal, I hope you will gain insights and lessons that are meaningful for you. My reflection and takeaways include:
Enjoy and appreciate the gift of life today. You may not have the opportunity tomorrow.
Prepare for your death, make your treatment choices known now when you're healthy. Noted, it's beyond the legal or medical paperwork. It's critical to have that important conversation and plan with your family.
Death is a topic that may be taboo to some - avoid something we don't want to face. But the fact is we are mortal. When the time comes and if you are prepared, it'll be more peaceful. All the forgiveness will be made. All the tough decisions will be taken cared of. You will leave a legacy of good memories and relieve stress for your family members.
Choose to spend your time and energy on what matters the most to you. If you feel like you have to do everything, take a pause and reevaluate if that's true. Ask yourself why and if it's aligned with your life purpose and values.