When Life Interrupts, Get out of Your Own Way

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by Charlton Harris |

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Life always gets in the way!

I recently had a conversation about saving money. I mentioned that, over the years, I’ve managed to keep a few coins in my pocket, as I was fortunate to work for companies with good savings plans. My mother was right when she said to save as much as possible and to choose a company that would match my contributions.

As we talked, I started thinking about what I’ve accomplished — and what I haven’t accomplished — over the past decade. I managed to save some money, but as we know, life gets in the way, especially when it comes to finances.

Life interrupts

Over the past two years, I’ve been in the hospital several times because of pulmonary sarcoidosis.

I was once talking to a nurse about my career and my future post-spontaneous pneumothorax. She used to work for New York City’s mass transit system. She was there for some years, but was laid off because of budget cuts and wasn’t sure what to do next. Her husband would support any decision she made, but she was independent and panicking about her future.

She always wanted to be a nurse but lacked confidence in herself. The layoff seemed like an opportunity for her to move forward. She decided to go to nursing school. With her husband carrying most of the family’s financial load, she bit the bullet. She was going to make the change and do what she really wanted. Twelve years later, I was blessed to have her as my nurse.

She told me not to worry about my past career. Maybe sarcoidosis was a blessing, allowing me to pursue the things I really wanted in life.

Therein lies the rub. I wanted to be a video producer, so I pursued that career, but I’ve always also had this deep-rooted love of cooking. I knew I had to make a move. I couldn’t return to shooting and editing at the level I was producing at.

I figured I’d start by taking a nutrition class. In theory, a healthy diet can only improve your health, even with serious health issues. I’ve implemented a lot of what I’ve learned, and I feel the dietary changes have made a difference. I’ve even made suggestions to family and friends, who were very receptive.

The end of a decade

In hindsight, I never would’ve thought I’d be the person I am today — which isn’t a bad thing. If someone told me 10 years ago that I would suffer two spontaneous pneumothoraces one year apart and be laid off because of partial disability, I would’ve called them a liar. But those are the cards I’ve been dealt, and truth be told, I’m not angry or bitter about my circumstances. Many people wouldn’t be able to handle what comes with this if they were in my shoes.

My nurse was correct. I have to start thinking about what I want to do to live a fulfilling life. This new adventure comes with unexpected obstacles, but to me, it’s no different than being a new parent. There are no instructions included.

I’ve always been a risk-taker. I’ve lived every moment of my life by the seat of my pants. Why should living with health issues be any different? The way I look at it, we have little over one month of this decade left. I’m going to make it count. I’m going to shake some trees and be the person I’ve always been, and I’m going to enjoy every moment each day brings!

At the end of the day, will you end this decade as a participant or a spectator?


Note: Sarcoidosis News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Sarcoidosis News or its parent company, Bionews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to sarcoidosis.


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