Life is what happens

Life Is What Happens

'Life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans" John Lennon, "Beautiful Boy"

Do you ever think back about those things you were planning to do when you were diagnosed with diabetes? I know many of us can recite where and when we were diagnosed from memory. I know I can, “Disney world, June 1974” I remember it like it was just yesterday. I was 17 and getting ready for a life of politics. I thought I wanted to go to Washington to join a high powered political consultant and manage campaigns for other people. It all sounded very exciting. To get there I thought I would likely have to start college somewhere small and then when I proved myself head off to a large east coast university to get into the scene. Georgetown seemed like a good place to try things out.

But then I was diagnosed with diabetes. In 1974 things were different than today. When I was diagnosed I thought I would need, and was told, to expect a life of hardship and uncomfortable complications. So from a practical standpoint plans had to change. Life happened while I was busy making other plans.

I often think of our communities parents who are busy making plans of their own when their child is diagnosed. Surely everything including careers, houses, family changes when a type 1 child comes home from the hospital. Yes I am sure they were busy making other plans when a life of diabetes occurred in their family.

Though I am type 1 I think our brothers and sisters with type 2 diabetes must experience life changes when diabetes happens. Retirement, career, family all change even just a little when diabetes is discovered. I have seen many type 2’s pronounce publicly that they have just a little diabetes, shrugging it off like it is nothing, yet wrestling with it each day.

I know we in this community like to remind ourselves that everything is still possible even with diabetes. I hate sounding like the old fart I am, but frankly things are much better now, than when I was diagnosed. But still there is that moment when a person is told they have diabetes they have to contemplate, what things in their life must change.

When I think of unexpected life changes I think of John Lennon and this song, beautiful boy. It is included on the album double fantasy released in 1980. The album:

“is notable for its association with Lennon's murder three weeks after its release, whereupon it became a worldwide commercial success, and went on to win the 1981 Album of the Year at the 24th Annual Grammy Awards” (Wikipedia, 2015)* .

Mr. Lennon was assassinated upon his return to his New York Apartment following a late evening in the recording studio. Despite asking reporters to hold the story until his young son could be informed, the facts were released publicly on Monday Night football and local New York television stations. Indeed life is what happens when you are making other plans. A lesson not lost on his fans, including me.

I cannot complain about how my plans turned out. I am well satisfied with my life, had I ran off to Washington I would not have been home when Sheryl called or might never have gotten the call in 1976. Instead I was home, in a local college and in 1977 we were married. I had a rewarding career in local government and school administration and I can honestly say I am glad that the plans I had when I was 17 did not work as I had hoped for. Yes life got in the way, but maybe for the better? I think I found my place and have few regrets about it all. But sometimes I wonder, what might have happened if I had pursed those plans? Would the world be better or worse off? Would I be better or worse off? It is difficult to say.

What were your plans when you were diagnosed? Were they big or small? Do you ever think of those pre diabetes plans and wonder what might have been? If so, are you still able to follow those dreams? It is often said the most restrictive limits placed on us are those placed by ourselves. I hope, all your limits no matter what they are; have nothing to do with diabetes. Today, unlike when I was diagnosed our limits are much less restrictive. Someday soon I hope new diabetics (and/or their parents) will no longer think of limits, even for a second, when a life of diabetes gets in the way.


Wikipedia. (2015). Double Fantasy. Retrieved March 27, 2015, from

*Note: Wikipedia is not considered a reliable source of information.



Update: Sermon (sermons is a misnomer) given at Carmel Christian Church July 12, 2015 based on this blog

Excellent Rick.

Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful song !

Good writing, Rick

Good post.

I think Stuart Scott said it best when he said (about cancer): it's not about the dying "it's why you live, how you live, and the manner in which you live." And as Tony Dungy said, it's not what you do, but how you do it.

Dad, my philosphy: It is not what you have done that defines you, it is what you do next that counts.

I don't get prescriptions filled or refilled at Walgreen's anymore either. They would always tell me that my prescriptions weren't covered. I get them filled through my insurance's mail order program and get a 90 day supply.