It’s an Inside Job

Dad learning how to use new adaptive equipment

Barbara Barr Bengen

Imagine being a 33-year-old father of four and your doctors tell you that you will be wheelchair-bound in five years and dead in 10.

I grew up with a dad who was terminally ill from multiple causes. The doctors diagnosed his issues and said to get his affairs together. But my dad was determined to make the best of things. So he wasn’t wheelchair bound in five years, or dead in 10. Instead, he lived a robust and happy life until the age of 93.

How did Dad outlive his doctors and live 50 years past his death sentence? How did he live a rich, full life despite handicaps and multiple illnesses? It was actually very simple. He took control of his life and his happiness with these steps:

1. He simply made the decision to be happy.

He had so many reasons to give up. Instead, he simply chose to be happy every day that he had on this earth. While that decision is simple, it wasn’t easy!

2. He made goals and plans.

His first plan was to take care of his family financially. Then he balanced his goals and plans in many areas of his life to include family, finances, friendships, his career, travel, volunteering, and a life full of exciting possibilities. Many of these goals were difficult to obtain on a teacher’s salary, but Dad made them happen. He continued to plan and set goals throughout his life, even through deteriorating health.

3. Dad adapted and kept going.

First, he didn’t let using a cane slow him down. Then the crutches didn’t stop him. Later, a scooter helped him stay active. Finally, an electric wheelchair and a handicapped van helped him to live life fully. While he was forced to modify his lifestyle, he never stopped living an interesting, fulfilling life.

4. Dad lived with purpose and meaning.

He never stopped using his skills and knowledge. He loved helping others, volunteering, and making a difference. Until the day he died, his life had meaning and purpose.

5. Dad never stopped learning.

He attended classes, lectures, and was always learning! Even in his last days, he kept on reading, even though a family member or home health care worker would have to turn his pages.

No matter what problems Dad faced, he didn’t let those problems rule is life. Instead, he claimed his birthright—to live a happy and full life.

Happy Father’s Day to all you dads out there!

There will be no program in the ballroom in July but we are still holding small group classes!

Meditation: Fridays in the Agate Room of the Arts & Crafts Center

8:30 a.m.: Introduction (new attendees)

9 a.m.: Meditation

New attendees register at [email protected].

“Toss These Toxins” on Tuesday, June 20, at 1 p.m.

A recent study found the average woman applied 168 chemicals before breakfast! That doesn’t include the harsh or dangerous chemicals used around the home!

Register at [email protected] for location.