“If you could receive one gift to help you through this life with illness, what would it be? It can be tangible or intangible, something for you alone or something for you to share.”
Before you read on, I hope you’ll give this some thought too. What is it that you would want? Got it? Ok, now for mine….
I’m going to base mine on reality. What I really want is a magic cure. Unfortunately, I think that’s about as likely to happen this year as the
people of Boston obeying traffic signs (really people, is it so hard?) My second choice would be a working crystal ball. Sure, I’d feel lousy, but at least I’d know what to expect and how to plan for it. But that’s right up there with tomorrow’s storm clouds raining chocolate instead of water. So I’ll go with my third choice: money. Yes, money. Does that sound weird? Ok, then I’ll explain.
I can imagine so many other possible gifts that could help me, but at the end of the day, it’s money that would enable them all. I’m not saying that money is the most important thing to have. I think it’s much more important to have love and support. I am so lucky that I already have those things from my incredible family and friends. It would be wonderful to have a significant other for additional support, but that’s not really something that comes in “gift” form, does it? (But maybe it should!) Money, on the other hand, could buy so much.
What would you do with some money? I’m not talking about $50,000,000 from the lottery. I mean, what if you magically had the same amount of money you earn either from the job you have or from the job you would have if you worked? I don’t live an extravagant lifestyle. If someone gave me enough money to live off of (I figure $1,000,000 invested well would provide enough interest for me to live off of indefinitely, or else if someone wanted to give me $30,000 a year) then I’d be doing so much better. Money can’t buy health, but it can let me obtain things and do things that would improve my health, or at least stop its deterioration.
First, I’d quit my job. No doubt. I’m getting ready to take some disability leave, but that’s a short term solution at best. I need to not work. Without a job, I would do my physical therapy daily and go to the gym regularly. I’d get proper sleep and really focus on my diet. I’d spend more time with my family and friends. I’d still have some time to fill, so I’d volunteer. I love volunteering. I could help people, but have enough flexibility in my schedule to take care of myself first and foremost. I know, I know, this sounds like those things people always say they’ll do but it never happens, right? But I was unemployed for a quite a while not too long ago and I did these things and felt so much better. I’d be thrilled to do it all again.
Next, I’d get massage therapy and acupuncture regularly. I’m supposed to do that now, but who has the time or money or energy for such things? I already spend thousands each year on my health, and time and energy are so scarce, being sucked away by my illnesses and by my job.
Now, if I had a lot of money, I’d buy a house. It would be a nice little house, and it would have some health-improving luxuries that I lack now: laundry on a main floor so I wouldn’t wear myself out doing a single load; a parking space so I wouldn’t have the stress of searching for parking or the difficulty of walking to and from more distant spaces; a ramp so I wouldn’t have to deal with stairs; central air conditioning so that summers would be a little less tortuous. These are the luxuries I dream of.
Some nights I stay up late dreaming of winning the lottery. What I’d do with the money is easy: I’d give money to loved ones, and I’d give huge gifts to my favorite nonprofits, I’d put it towards curing these illnesses we all have, and I’d feel better. But getting it is pretty unlikely (but maybe just slightly less unlikely than the magic cure I mentioned earlier.) Or maybe one day someone will click on the “Donate” button in the sidebar and give me some huge amount of money. That’s not so likely either (right up there with flying pigs, perhaps?) Instead, I’m trying to focus on the more likely things (like lots of small donations, or the stock market improving.) I’m trying to be proactive. My goal is to make the money for myself without working full time. Sure, I’d love to get it as a gift, but in case that doesn’t happen, I’ll do the best I can on my own. Starting a consulting business will be slow, but if it works, it will give me the flexibility of schedule and location that I need. And before I know it, maybe I won’t be working “full time” anymore. Ah, to dream….
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