by J. Jacobson
What makes me happy? In the words of Jack Benny, “I’m thinking. I’m thinking.” Actually it’s easy. As an eighty-two year old living a active life despite managing Type 1 insulin dependent diabetes, waking up each morning and seeing my wife of fifty-eight years sleeping peaceably beside me is the essence of sublime happiness. On the scale of happiness it’s a grand slam.
Walking with my wife through the Boston Public Gardens in the footsteps of our parents and our early youth is a great joy for both of us and makes me extraordinarily happy. Swimming in the cold New England ocean water and climbing the local New Hampshire mountains is right up there on the happiness scale, only compromised by the thought that Mother Nature ‘s watchful eyes are lurking in the background. I’ll try to fool her a little while longer but I know in the end she won’t be cheated. As an octogenarian living with a chronic disease, enjoying life and doing everything I ever did at an earlier age, that makes me happy.
I want to share my thoughts with those perhaps facing a life changing illness. I was sixty years old when diagnosed with Type 1 Juvenile Diabetes. I played tennis, golf and enjoyed hiking the local mountains. The doctor told me it was not a death sentence; with the proper attitude I could manage my situation effectively and go on with life as usual. That was good advice and I made every effort to benefit from it. I had to learn to live with diabetes. I was still working and traveling for my business. Little by little I was able to put diabetes in the background of my life. I made the transition from daily multiple syringe injections to wearing an insulin pump and with that change came a new sense of freedom.
Of course I’m extremely fortunate to have a wife who contributes to my care 24/7 and makes me happy in every way. I recognize there are forces in our lives we cannot control but attitude is something that remains entirely in a person’s domain. Happiness in my judgement is the other side of sadness and a confident attitude will get you across.