By Tim Hague Sr.
I know, I know: it’s a counterintuitive title, and for some, it may be right off-putting. But of recent I’ve been reminded again that within every cloud there is that sliver of a silver lining.
Sheryl and I (Sheryl being my wife and partner in this Parkinson’s journey) had the opportunity recently to check off a bucket list item. We went about this little adventure quietly, but what’s important in the story is that it was made possible by Parkinson’s.
I had always had what I consider a flashy dream. It’s played itself out in my head many times something like this. ‘I’m tired. I need a break. I wish we could just get on a plane and leave. Let's go sit on a beach for a week. Right now, let's just book it and go.’ Yeah right, eh?!
Well, a few weeks back we did just that. I had been off speaking when Sheryl texted me with basically that idea. She had found a great last-minute deal and inquired; ‘Should I book it?’. My immediate answer was ‘no!’.
As we talked it over, we realized we could go. And that maybe we should go. We had no commitments that week and we had been saving some dough for an anticipated expense that fortunately did not materialize, so, we had some extra cash.
A week later we were on the beach. Wow! We had a blast. It was in many ways a dream come true.
There were many times throughout the course of the week that I was left asking myself, ‘How does this happen’? Then I began to acknowledge some rather glaring facts.
First I had to get Parkinson’s. Second, Parkinson’s had to take my job away. Third, I had to be lucky enough for that anticipated expense to fall through. And fourth, I had to be willing to go.
Four little statements that are loaded with grief, loss, luck and a will to persevere.
There has never been a day that I was grateful for having been given Parkinson’s. There never will be. There are days that I still grieve the loss of my job and the colleagues with whom I worked. I am grateful that we had the foresight to save a few bucks along the way.
Most importantly though I am glad that Sheryl helps me Live My Best…TODAY. It would have been so easy to put the trip off, to find any number of reasonable, rational reasons, to say no to the idea. But if not now, when? When I’m 60, 65, 70 years old? The fact is Parkinson’s may very well prevent me from traveling at all at those ages. At 52, I can still go, and thus we went.
Sheryl and I have come to the conclusion that while there is much we are still active in with her work and my Parkinson’s advocacy and speaking, this time in life is also a part of our ‘retirement’. We will still financially plan for a long life together, but we are going to spend some of that money today while I am still able.
For us it is about more than simply surviving with Parkinson’s. It is about having the will to persevere and thrive.
I know for some it may seem odd to suggest that a simple vacation was an act of defiance against Parkinson’s but that is exactly what it was. A will to plan for the future but also live today.
My hope in sharing this story with you is to help you look at your life differently and seize the day. Parkinson’s made that week possible by freeing me of other responsibilities that would have prevented me from going. My ‘normal’ life was never so flexible.
Amid the dark clouds of Parkinson’s (or whatever tends to darken your world) what silver lining might you find and act on? It may not be a trip away but I’m guessing that something has crossed your mind as you read this. My encouragement is to acknowledge it and then act on it. Then, if you will, drop me a note and share the story. I would love to hear about your adventure!
Live Your Best….TODAY!
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