Is it Time For a Checkup?

In my newsletter a few months ago, I recommended we periodically check our credit reports. This is a wise move in order to correct reporting errors and catch possible identity theft. Other finance related initiatives include making an annual budget, having life insurance, establishing an emergency fund, and planning for the future.

On the health front is scheduling appointments with the doctor and dentist. In addition, some people regularly check their pulse or take their blood pressure. Even stepping on the scale is a form of a medical checkup.

Aside from health issues, we regularly have the oil in our car changed and follow recommended maintenance to keep it running great. Many take similar steps with their homes.

I also do periodic checkups on my schedule to avoid over-commitment and guard against under-involvement.

So we take control of our finances, watch our health, care for our possessions, and protect our time, all by preforming regular checkups.

But what about relationships?

I too often take relationships for granted. Either they work or they don’t. But I should be intentional about them, too. I need to do a relationship checkup. Maybe you do, too. In my checkup, I ask these questions:

  • Am I investing in the relationships that are important to me? Do I seek to make our interactions significant? Do people anticipate spending time with me?
  • Conversely, am I protecting myself from toxic relationships that demand much, give little, and drag me down?
  • Am I looking to build relationships with others?
  • Do I need to remove myself from some relationships?
  • Am I in any enabling relationships?

Even more important is my relationship with family. They, too, deserve a thorough checkup.

On the spiritual front, is God, the most important relationship of all. Maybe we should do this checkup first.

Peter DeHaan is magazine publisher by day and a writer by night. Visit peterdehaan.com to receive his newsletter, read his blog, or connect via social media.

Age Is Not a Number but an Attitude

Many of my friends are younger than me, often by quite a bit. In fact, I’d rather spend time with people half my age, than my own demographic. I don’t know what they think about hanging out with me, but I think it’s great to be around them.

Too many people my age have settled; they’ve accepted the status quo and are coasting towards nothingness, but they don’t even know it. How sad.

Many younger people, however, have a zest for living. Life is an adventure. They are learning, dreaming, growing – they are alive. And so am I, especially when I’m around them. Yes, experience may have tempered my zest, but I’m still learning, dreaming, and growing. That’s life; the alternative is death. And I’m too young to think about that.

So I’m on a committee with people mostly my age and older. (For the record, they haven’t settled.) We discuss who to invite to join us. Our leader makes an astute observation: “There are no Millennials on our committee.”

I’m offended. Wait, I am a Millennial. Then I silently correct my errant words before embarrassing myself aloud. No, you’re not; you just think you are.

Ah, the joy of delusion.

Yes, I identify more with Gen-X and especially Millennials than I do the Baby Boomer I should be. I skew more towards the postmodern worldview of youth than I embrace the modern perspective people my age are supposed to hold.

Maybe I was born too soon. Or maybe I just have a young heart.

Either way, it doesn’t matter, because age isn’t a number; it’s an attitude.

Peter DeHaan is magazine publisher by day and a writer by night. Visit peterdehaan.com to receive his newsletter, read his blog, or connect via social media.

Life is Better When Shared With Friends

I’m fortunate to have many valued friends in my life. Some of us get together once a month for our writers critique group, where we help each other improve as writers. Collectively, we write non-fiction, memoir, poetry, and an array of fiction. But regardless of the genre, the important thing is that we

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Top 10 Posts on From The Musings of Peter DeHaan for 2012

Here are the ten most popular posts on The Musings of Peter DeHaan for 2012. Some are quite recent while others are still being read now even though they were posted years ago. Thank you for reading my posts:

  1. Responding to Email
  2. Woodpecker Wars
  3. A Micro-Garden
  4. Healthcare Costs
  5. 3 Responses to the US Election
  6. Smile…You’re Being Scanned
  7. What If There Was No Mail?
  8. When Innovation Falls Short
  9. Google’s Chrome is Yet to Shine
  10. Do You Lie to Your Doctor?

Which one is your favorite?

Do You Lie to Your Doctor?

At work I recently received a shocking press release. In part it said, “It’s an open secret in healthcare communities: patients lie.”

The reasons are many. Some lie because they don’t want to admit unhealthy behaviors to their doctors. For others, by not voicing a concern they subconsciously deny its existence. Still others make their own determinations as to what’s important and what’s not, lying to keep from revealing what they deem to be irrelevant.

Yet I think I understand this. I’ve made casual comments to doctors and the next thing I know they want to schedule me for a series of tests unrelated to my visit or they prescribe a medicine for a minor issue and the drug’s side-effects are worse than my minor ailment.

Sometimes these trivialities are verbally regurgitated visit after visit, long after I’ve forgotten them. As in, “Are you still suffering from blurred vision?” I respond, “That was three years ago and I haven’t accidently poked myself in the eye since then.”

Too often doctors only half listen. Once they hear a certain keyword, they tune out the details that surround it. They leap to a diagnosis or treatment for a problem that isn’t there.

Sometimes when we lie to doctors, it’s simply to keep them from reaching a wrong conclusion and subjecting us to needless pain.

The Cost of Healthcare Reform

This week I received my quarterly health insurance bill.  Boy, was I in for a shock.  It showed a 49% increase in my premium.

Convinced it was in error, I naively called the company’s call center to get it corrected.  The rep was nonchalant about the whole thing, acting as though a 49% increase was normative.  When I protested, he began offering lame excuses:

  • The rates always go up
  • It’s because of inflation
  • There have been too many claims

Each time, I dismissed his explanation, telling him that his stated reason was insufficient to justify a 49% increase in my premium.

Not able to dissuade me, he finally relented, sighed, and offered a plausible and convincing reason.  “The rate increase is the result of added costs that we are incurring because of the Obama healthcare reform,” he said.  His tone was somber and sincere.  He was no longer mechanically talking at me, but was personally talking with me.  I believed him.

He then worked with me, offering options.  I ended up increasing my deductible several thousand dollars in order to keep my premium in check.

His first three reasons where, I am sure, the standard script that he was supposed to follow.  What I am not sure of, is if he deviated from his script in placing the blame on healthcare reform or if that was an official corporate statement.

What I do know, is that I agree with him.  It is what I feared all along, that healthcare reform would end up costing me more and offering me less.

The Next Volley for Healthcare

As a magazine and website publisher, all manner of articles and press releases show up in my inbox on a daily basis.  Although some of them are carefully targeted to the markets I serve, most are widespread missives that are sent to every publisher with a pulse, regardless of their beat or focus.

Leading up to the historical — some would say, infamous — healthcare vote in the US house last week, I received an increased number of press releases agin the bill.  Since I wasn’t interested in using any of them, I quickly scanned them while pressing delete; I do not recall any that were in favor of the bill.

Also appearing in my inbox were an increasing number of “op-ed” submissions decrying either the bill or the process.  Even though I’ve never published an op-ed piece and never plan to, the submissions continued to arrive.  What amazed me was that, for the most part, there was no effort to present a thoughtful discourse or elegant argument; they were filled with polarized perspectives and emotionally laden rhetoric.  While I might have agreed with their general point, I was repelled by their tenor, tone, and tack.

Once the bill was passed and then signed by president Obama, I continued to receive press releases and op-ed pieces in opposition to what had happened — and fear of what might happen.  A new element was added — announcements of lawsuits being filed.

It would seem that the vote approving the bill and its subsequent signing into law will not end the debate; it will merely shift to a new venue.