3 Things

My step father, whom I consider very wise, once told me, “Chris, you need three things in life to be happy: something to do, someone to love, and something to hope for.” I was curious about this saying and felt compelled to look up its origins. My research and investigating led me to Tom Bodett, an author and radio personality.[1] I have thought much about this saying and believe it to be true. I then wondered do I have these three things in my life?”

Tom Bodett
Tom Bodett

——-Something to do———-

This tumor has been a mixed blessing in that it has stripped me of some activities (i.e. walking and talking normally and communication) but has also pushed me to take part in things I had never before tried. Before being confined to my house I did not spend as I wanted with my family. Even though I did much reading for medical school, I had not read a book other than a scientific text. Furthermore, writing is something I used to dread; I remember hating anytime I had to write an essay in college. In fact, one of the aspects I liked about medical school was the lack of essay style writing assignments. This tumor has given me the opportunity to partake in all of these activities: I have spent more time with my family than I ever have, I have read more (nonmedical) books in the past year than in my entire life, and I cannot wait until the time comes for me to write a piece for this blog. So when I made a mental checklist to see if I had those ‘3 things’ my stepfather spoke of, ‘something to do’ was the easiest category to address.

—-Someone to Love—-

I am often asked if this tumor has put a strain on my marriage. On the contrary, if anything this ordeal has brought my wife and I closer. She often jokes that before all this, I never used to hold her hand (now if we go anywhere together I always hold her hand for physical support). I am a strong believer that pressure reveals our true nature. Something as beautiful as a diamond needs pressure to be formed; the same idea applies to us as humans. Pressure, or stress when translated to homo sapien terms, can create something as beautiful and strong as the bond between my wife and I, or expose the cracks in the foundation between two loved ones. Even though there are many in my life that I love, the love I have for my wife first came to my mind when considering this quote.

—–Something to Hope for—–

This recovery process has been one filled with hope: hope for a full recovery, hope that my story is heard, and hope to inspire those facing any adversity in life to overcome any challenge in front of them. This saying has been repeated over and over and no doubt changed countless numbers of times; one of the versions claimed that you needed ‘something to look forward to’ as opposed to ‘something to hope for.’ These can be very different sayings as one could look forward to something while not hoping for it[2](and vice versa). Luckily for me, I look forward to waking up every morning to see my family and I also hope for some recovery that day.

Have you heard this quote before? Is the idea of achieving happiness, something we have strived for for centuries, as simple as having these three ‘things?’ When you think of this quote, what three responses do you come up with?

[1] http://www.bodett.com/bio/

[2] For example, you could look forward to your payday, but not necessarily hope for it.

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