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Friday, March 02, 2012

Life Is Short

Sad story: The brother of a friend retired six months ago. In January, he drove out to Firebaugh, CA. Just a day trip. Ate lunch, and drove back home to the coast.

Two weeks later he's feeling sick, can't breath, and is rushed to the ER.

His lungs are filled with fluid. Pneumonia, right? For three week's the doctors can't find a cure, can't figure out what's really happening. They're searching for a bacterial infection. Then they figure it out: he has Valley Fever. (Valley fever - PubMed Health).

Now his life has changed forever. Four weeks in Intensive Care. Need for long term care. His life in retirement: plans to travel with his wife, see the country, spend more time with children and grandchildren: All plans have been shelved, probably forever. Just stays in bed, in a hospital struggling to get even a part of his health back.

Amazing to me how something can just 'happen' and your life changes forever. Amazing also how that what happens is typically very bad.

Had we known, if we could have anticipated what troubles the future holds ... But don't we already 'know.' The theory of Black Swans events tells us the unexpected, the tragic, the catastrophic are in fact 'known.' We don't know the specifics -- cancer, car accident, valley fever. But we know that something terrible could, probably will, happen and will turn our lives entirely upside down.

How trite to say, "We need to be ready. We need to live life fully." But also how true.

As one truly great writer I know recently wrote: “We’re all living in buildings that are going to be demolished.” (see

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