A weekend getaway was supposed to be a relaxing time away from the bustling city life and stress of work. Don’t get me wrong, the trip to Yosemite National Park was perfect with warm weather and access to nature’s beautiful creations. While I enjoyed some easy hiking with my family in Yosemite, my mind was wandering along a different path that wasn’t just focused around spending quality time with family, but rather, thinking about how I could take better care of them.
My preoccupation around family started a few days before the trip. I was finishing up a project in the backyard with some light shoveling but even that gave me some soreness the next morning. Lifting up and moving some unused bags of cement sealed the deal though. I strained my back bad and was severely limited in what I could do. Not even 50 years old, I finally admitted to myself that I was no longer Super Dad and that this was a calling to start slowing down on physical activities that were once easy. What I could do previously with no problem only a few years ago, was now something I had to think twice about attempting. I had contracted one of my biggest fears – turning into my father through Old Man’s disease.
Coming to grips with my mortality, I thought the Yosemite excursion would get me through my introspection. It did not. The drive to Yosemite from the San Francisco Bay Area was unexciting and long. The drive had its share of traffic backups as well as drivers behaving badly as congestion turned into Daytona 500 on Highway 99. Even when we reached Yosemite, there were people tailgating along mountainous roads, the ones where the slightest mistake could send you over a cliff. This was going to be a long weekend.
However, the Yosemite Valley was beautiful and relaxing. We took it easy as we walked along beginner trails as I temporarily put my back soreness behind me and enjoyed some quality time with the family. As we walked along one of the trails, I saw young people taking selfies as some of Yosemite’s monuments stood in the distance behind them. There was no danger at the base of the valley and it was all with good and safe intentions to capture memories. However, the selfies made me think of a recent incident where a young Indian couple apparently fell to their deaths at one of the Yosemite sightseeing spots in the pursuit of the optimal selfie picture. A couple, in their prime, not realizing the dangers or Mother Nature’s unsuspecting powers, lost all that was in front of them. My Yosemite trip gave me a healthy dose of reality and self-assessment. At any age, our outlook should be to live life to the fullest and live in the moment. However, that doesn’t mean acting recklessly as one mistake can have far reaching consequences for the individual as well as others. Risk mitigation should be part of every stage of life and that includes being prepared. As we get older and have significant others and families, risk mitigation and preparedness needs to include financial, health and even social aspects. We aren’t just trying to extend our quality of life, but also, we are putting the pieces in place so that our loved ones have financial, physical and mental well-being. At Last Wish, we encourage people to live the life they want to lead and march to their own drummer, but we also want to help you be prepared for the unexpected or the unforeseen. Life is too short to not be prepared.