You may have noticed that I have not posted for a few weeks. I like many of you enjoyed a nice week off for the Thanksgiving holiday. It was a time to enjoy family, reflect on the great things that life has brought forth and for me to also reflect on my life, its direction, priorities and direction. As many of you know, I have been dealing with many nagging health issues. These issues have impacted my life to a great degree and at one time I thought they may have been working to end my life totally; thankfully that was not the case. I have seen more MD’s, specialists, APRN’s and related folks in the past six months than I can to count; thankfully though I do not have a great health plan, I am not among the millions without any health care. Still the bills pile up while I carry on. Being thankful is very important and we need not a holiday to remind us. I am thankful for all that I have, all that I have had and all that will be in my future. I am mostly thankful to have loved and to be loved; nothing material can replace that for me. I am thankful for my road towards a full recovery and that I am well traveled up that road, though I have had to accept that it is not going to happen on my time or in the way that I may prefer. Still, it is happening and that is what is most important. Things may not happen by our rules, they may not be concerned with our definitions of right or wrong and they may simply ignore our desires; such is life at times. When faced with such issues we may choose to fight it, give up or simply choose the easiest or most logical path. I try to do the latter. Sometimes keeping up also includes giving up things that mean a lot to us. It is never easy to give up such things but at times it is very necessary. For instance, I am on the road to a complete recovery based on what my docs tell me, but in order to continue down that path I must continue physical therapy, watch my work load and be more realistic in what I do, how I live and what I eat. I write this today not to draw attention to me but to hopefully help draw attention to you; to have you look at yourself and do a preemptive intervention on yourself if needed. You see for many years I worked 12 to 16 hour days, 6 to 7 days per week. I thrived on pushing myself to the point of collapse just to see how much I could get away with. A few years ago I realized that I had followed the pattern that I had set up when I was a bodybuilder; weightlifting was done on the philosophy that you lifted to the point of muscle failure and then did two more with the help of a competent spotter (choosing one muscle group per month to really blast). A clump of tumors and cysts ended my bodybuilding but I missed the high of pushing myself to the limit, so work became the new challenge. I met this challenge for 12 to 15 years before my body ran out of reserves and shut down. My doc reminded me for years that I did not have an emblazoned “S” on my chest and cautioned me to slow down, I of course ignored her and used the multiple years of successfully doing so as “proof” that her rules did not pertain to me. Call it the “Warren rule” or exception I guess. Well, I learned that they do apply to all of us eventually. So back to the point; tough times call for tough choices, be it with health, finances, relationships etc. I think to a great extent this is where we spend a great deal of our time assisting clients to understand. Once they get this point and practice it, they either no longer need us or are very close to not needing us. For me, well I learned that I needed to slow down a bit. I have lowered my work week to no more than 60 hours between Monday and Friday, my doc wants it closer to 40 but right now that is not possible. I am working hard to try to make that happen however. I started to prioritize my life and work. My family is most important followed by the not for profit that I founded. The farm which is going to be the home of the not for profit once we secure the permits and find a way to pay for it must be kept as well but what of all the stuff that made up the balance of my working hours? On 12-5-2011 I had to step down as president of the CT Mental Health Counselors Association; something that meant so much to me but was beyond what I could currently partake in. I also asked not to be nominated for reelection of office for my home lodge and notified a few other lodges that I had regularly attended that it will be some time before I am able to become a fixture once more. These were tough choices to be sure but necessary ones. As for my ACA blog, well that was something that I felt could be continued. I love writing it and thanks to a great system that we have in place, once we met the first round of obligations for weekly contributions, we can set our own schedule which works nicely into my recovery plan. I hope you will continue to read my posts. As I said, sometimes tough times call for tough choices but they need not be looked at negatively. As I recover I plan on one day running for office in the counseling field, I hope to run once more for Secretary of the lodge or perhaps working the chairs to the top position. For now, I will try to better follow my doc’s advice and continue to build strength. I still work 6-7 days a week but I listen to my body and start and stop as it dictates on the weekend. I had added additional timeslots in my work schedule to allow me to do paperwork and have more time for my family. Tough choices can make for future happiness. They can make for a better future; sometimes they can be the difference between having a future and not. We can decide if they are seen as sadness or as a chance for a new start. As for me, well the next chapter of my life has begun just as the first; I was ill and my future was unsure but I was full of fight and carried on. I hope you all do the same. In ancient times they spoke of the wisdom of a person knowing when things were beyond the length of their cable tow, meaning, we must learn to identify what we are and are not able to do. It seems that centuries later though that term has gone into antiquity, we still must learn the same. Warren Corson III (Doc Warren) is a counselor and the clinical & executive director of a community counseling agency in central CT (www.docwarren.org).