The Teddy Bear for Adults

Rodney Warner, JD
Rodney Warner, JD

Our lives are constantly changing. Sometimes that change is at a glacial speed. It’s just another day at the office. The same ‘ol same ‘ol every day. Sometimes that change is lightning fast and will forever impact your life. A lay off, the sudden death of a loved one, maybe a cancer diagnosis. The only thing we can really count on is change.

We can try to insulate ourselves from change, and some of us are better at it than others. Maybe we make really smart career decisions, we’re able to save money or buy really good insurance. But life is a crapshoot.

We seek the teddy bear of planning and try to avoid change. We want our lives to be predictable, certain, comfortable. Risks are to be avoided, or at least managed, as much as possible. We dream about wonderful, fun, enjoyable futures, maybe even the kind of retirement you see on financial planning advertisements. But the reality is, that future may never come.

My life, and my family’s life, has shown that nothing, especially your health, is truly predictable. I’m caught between living for the day, and enjoying each day as much as I can, and the reality of an uncertain future. As fruitless as planning and predicting your future can be, there are also risks to not planning for your future.

It’s great to have an enjoyable, rewarding, “dream job”, but what if the pay is low or there’s no room for advancement? Do you settle for a lower standard of living, get by from paycheck to paycheck and enjoy the psychic rewards of work you love? What happens if you actually do make it to retirement age, but there’s no realistic retirement in sight? What if your child wants to further his or her education, but the money’s just not there? Tell your child to tough it out? Isn’t part of parenthood sacrificing for your child?

Cancer survivors are supposed to be famous for living for the moment, but as a practical matter, if you’re blessed with a cure or a long term remission, maybe we need to live more for future moments, not so much for the present ones.