Enlarging Life

By Bill Long on September 2, 2016

Faith and Family Business: Enlarging Life

By Dr. Bill Long

     One of the illustrious people we lost this year was the neurologist Oliver Sacks (1933-2015). Bursting into public consciousness through his stunning case study essays in The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat (1985), Sacks consistently probed the lives of what we might call the people on the margins of life. He felt that they teach us many valuable lessons about living. In the last year of his life, as it became clear he was dying, he penned some remarkable essays on gratitude, essays which have now been put into a little book of that name.

     His central point was that as we age, and as years turn to decades, rather than bemoaning the ever-greater restrictions on us, we should be grateful for the various “enlargements” of life available to us. As he said, “My father, who lived to 94, often said that the 80s had been one of the most enjoyable decades of his life. He felt, as I begin to feel, not a shrinking but an enlargement of mental life and perspective…” “I do not think of old age as an ever grimmer time…but as a time of leisure and freedom.” 

     As we turn to 2016, and as we all turn one year (and some of us, one decade) older, may our thoughts turn to the way that life has been and is being enlarged for us. Perhaps it is through business success or loss, of familial struggle or joy, of personal achievement or even failure. May 2016 be a year of enlargement for you, your family and your family business.