I guess it was the pandemic that triggered a change in my perspective on work-life balance. I, thankfully, did not lose anyone close to me during that time but my middle son ended up in ICU with Covid in June 2020 and we were scared.
He had not been feeling good for a couple of days and even had an EMT unit come to his apartment that didn’t do anything for him. Two days later he was lethargic and requesting to be taken to the emergency room. My wife drove him on a Saturday morning. They took him back to examine him (wife not allowed) and he was diagnosed with Covid. We couldn’t see him. He spent 3 days in ICU, then another 3 days in a regular room, but still we couldn’t see him. We could call him and hope he would answer.
He was released the following Friday, spending 7 days in the hospital. He came out of the hospital a diabetic. A rare occurrence with Covid, we found out, but it can happen. He was devastated. 25 years old and Type II diabetes. How could this happen, he asked. He was tall and skinny, in pretty good shape physically. He had a hard time grasping the reasoning and so did we. He had to completely change his lifestyle. Thank Buddha he had a girlfriend (now his wife) who stayed with him through thick and thin. Over the past 3 years he has completely adjusted to being a diabetic and maintains his levels through good dieting and constant exercise. He rarely has to give himself an insulin shot.
All this came to mind recently because he turned 28 two weeks ago. I am so thankful he made it through that scary time and has fully come to terms with his disease. He continues to be a contributing member of society. He works a day job and runs an online vintage clothing business in his spare time. And he got married last Halloween. I think he’s going to be OK.
I have to chuckle because for his birthday at work they bought him a cake and had these special cookies delivered (Tiff Treats if you are in the Dallas area) not knowing that he was diabetic. They know now. His mother-in-law also made a tres leches cake that he couldn’t really dive into. His willpower is unmeasurable.
The episode with my son along with the death of a longtime friend from work late last year (Colon cancer, one day he went to the Doctor and never came back to work. He died 2 months later at the age of 59) caused me to rethink what is important in my life. Money? Job? Success? None of those things were a priority anymore. They slipped way down my list of priorities. I still needed a job (for now) to pay the mortgage, food, health benefits, toys, comics, etc. but I was no longer going to stress about work and deadlines. Just wasn’t important in the grand scheme of things, you know? No longer going to stress about losing my job. Going to do my job and do what I need to do, but I’m done with the whole giving 110% bullshit that only breaks you down and makes other people richer (Quietly Quit?). My focus is my wife and three sons, my mother, my grandson, my in-laws and friends. Life is getting to be too short. I plan to retire at the end of 2024, but lately I’ve been rethinking that plan. December 31, 2023 is looking more and more desirable. Stay tuned.