Reflections On Life From The Operating Table

205065If you read this as you receive it, think of me. A part of me will be being removed, surgically, forever and at this very moment. Right now as I write, my nerves are pumping. It’s helped me crystalize what makes for a flourishing life. It’s a new discovery. It feels kind of right. How does it feel for you and your life?

OK. It’s a minor operation in the scheme of things. Gall bladder removal. Never even knew what a gall bladder was really, until a few weeks ago. And certainly did not know you can live without it. Well- you can. I hope.

This hospital visit has made me reflect on ‘What’s it all about?’ I have been thinking about what makes a meaningful life, for me. I wasn’t going to do a Possums this week- too distracted. Then, when looking through my Possums ‘ideas’ file, I discovered this gem about what makes us flourish in our lives. Not sure where I got it from. But please- give it a read. Needs 30 seconds of reading. Here it is:

Most people realize that they really need to do things for other people.

There is a deep fear that one’s life will be lived in vain – without making a contribution, or a benign difference, to the lives of others. … Flourishing means getting on with the things that are important for you to do, exercising your capacities, actively trying to “realize” what you care about and bring it into life. But these activities involve anxiety, fear of failure and setbacks, as well as a sense of satisfaction, occasional triumphs and moments of excitement.

A good life is still a life. It must involve a full share of suffering, loneliness, disappointment and coming to terms with one’s own mortality and the deaths of those one loves. To live a life that is good as a life involves all this.

That’s the best I can do this week. My mind is elsewhere. I hope you found it of value. I did. It is a message that suits my melancholy mood.

It makes me think about what ‘flourishing’ means to me….what the ingredients are that make my life flourish. It’s not about money- though the right amount of money can help you do some of the things that help you flourish no doubt. It is about “getting on with the things that are important to you, exercising your capacities, actively trying to ‘realise’ what you care about and bring it into life.”

Food for thought. And that’s the kind of mood I am in today.

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23 Responses to Reflections On Life From The Operating Table

  1. Bridget October 9, 2013 at 10:14 am #

    You take care Chris – and the bliss of never having a gall bladder attack again – will be worth it. Intimations of mortality always bring on the glooms – we are all so good at ignoring it – at our peril

    • Chris Savage October 9, 2013 at 12:08 pm #

      Thanks Bridget!

  2. Russ October 9, 2013 at 10:15 am #

    Great post Chris! Amazing how an event or a moment in life makes you stop and think about what and how you are going about life and what is important and most importantly what is not! Good luck with the op!
    Cheers Russ

    • Chris Savage October 9, 2013 at 12:08 pm #

      Thanks Russ!

  3. Kelly October 9, 2013 at 10:21 am #


    All the best with your recovery from the operation.

    Kind regards


    • Chris Savage October 9, 2013 at 12:08 pm #

      Thanks Kelly!

  4. Patrick October 9, 2013 at 11:27 am #

    Wishing you an uneventful hospital stay and speedy recovery. I find the Flourishing message both realistic and inspiring. And not at all melancholy. It is, in the end, about making a difference to the lives of others.

    On that account, you can certainly claim success that you are living a good life with much more to come.

    I love the part about accepting that anxiety, fear and setbacks are part and parcel with success and excitement. That’s the inspiring part, to me at least.

    • Chris Savage October 9, 2013 at 12:07 pm #

      Thanks Patrick!

  5. Fleur Marks October 9, 2013 at 11:41 am #

    Could not agree more with your words Chris. Learnt this one the hard way but glad I learnt it. Check out Ted Talk by Brene Brown on the Power of Vulnerability – one of the top 10 TED talks a worthy watch whilst you recover. Good luck!

    • Chris Savage October 9, 2013 at 12:07 pm #

      Thanks Fleur!

  6. Jude October 9, 2013 at 1:17 pm #

    Gosh, never a dull moment! Poignant & succinct words, encapsulating what often requires a good stash of reflection and evaluating to begin to recognise just what makes us feel like we are living the ‘flourishing path’.

    Sending you many healing thoughts, rest well and recover better.

  7. chris October 9, 2013 at 3:20 pm #

    get well soon Chris, and keep posting!

  8. Karen October 9, 2013 at 4:00 pm #

    Dear Chris
    I pray that all’s smooth sailing during and post op. I wish you speedy recovery and that you’ll be up and bouncing in no time:)

  9. Lisette October 9, 2013 at 6:01 pm #

    Thanks again for the thoughts Chris. Not a melancholy post at all – wonderful words of wisdom actually, reflecting on your “sense of flourishment.” Wishing you a speedy recovery.

    • Chris Savage October 10, 2013 at 10:11 am #

      Thanks Lisette!

  10. Colleen Rose October 9, 2013 at 7:11 pm #

    I wish you a speedy recovery Chris – thank you for your inspiring post as usual – having just scaled down my full time frantic corporate rush I am really looking at what creates meaning for me in my life and doing things for others is certainly up there – currently lecturing at a business school and the passing on of knowledge is affirming – especially when you see the lights go on in a young person’s eyes!

    • Chris Savage October 10, 2013 at 10:11 am #

      Thanks Colleen. Delighted to hear of your next step. Exciting! Good luck with it. Chris

  11. Alan Claire October 9, 2013 at 9:30 pm #

    You take care Chris

  12. John Skinner / Catalyst October 9, 2013 at 9:34 pm #

    Hi Chris,

    Congratulations on becoming a REAL Agency / Business exec! I had my Gall Bladder out a long long time ago, and have a 10-inch scar to prove it (none of the fancy key-hole surgery in those days). As I recall, the Docs used to refer to Gall Bladder issues as “Restauranter’s disease” – which seems to make sense.

    It’s interesting how we all learn so much about specific medical conditions & treatments, as you move though life and its challenges. Best wishes, John & all the crew at Catalyst

    • Chris Savage October 10, 2013 at 10:12 am #

      Thanks John!!!

  13. Stella October 10, 2013 at 6:34 am #

    Almost missed this Possums post and so glad I didn’t! Hope all goes well my friend and you make a speedy recovery. Take care.

  14. Matt October 11, 2013 at 7:48 pm #

    Chris . Only just found out last week I needed mine removed also. I too was quite shocked at the thought of not so much a operation but the fact a part of me was also going to be removed forever. This is not my first operation having had a few knee operations in my rugby days but this news left me flat because I started to feel every bit of my 49 years and my youthful exuberance of always feeling invincible was starting to fade. The doctor tried to comfort me by saying back years ago most explorers / adventurer’s heading to Antarctica or similar isolated places would have there gall bladders removed before they went. All the best.

    • Chris Savage October 14, 2013 at 9:10 am #

      Thanks Matt- good luck with it. Mine all done and dusted. Taking it easy but on my way back!

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