Physicians help people face these and other difficult situations on a daily basis in their practice. For me, however, it has all been quite unusual and troubling. I have not had to deal with many of these issues until recently.
Then one day I realized that it's just the stage of life I am currently going through. I'm at the age where people start getting these diseases, where parents — long removed from being caregivers — are becoming care-receivers.
I am, one might say, entering a new season, and the experiences I will have are actually much like everyone else's as they pass through the same season. Not exactly the same, of course — there are always personal twists we face on our individual paths — but similar enough as to be somewhat predictable.
And times do change. So what I'm going through now is different than, say, what my parents would have gone through in their day: culture, technology, and health care have changed both expectations and outcomes, so the foreseeable journey will also continue to change and evolve.
And others are going through different seasons: my friend celebrating the birthday he never expected, 24 years after becoming HIV positive; my bicycling buddy getting engaged; a colleague who is pregnant.
When I was younger, I went through seasons of graduations and marriage and kids — largely, seasons of joy. And then there were the seasons of discontent: divorce and illness. I have enjoyed feast as well as famine; probably too many seasons of pride and too few of humility.
Life is full of these (and other) seasons, and although they are not perfectly predictable and they often overlap, they do generally represent common human experiences.
At OMA Insurance, we know all about life experiences and the seasons we go through — or more to the point, the seasons you will go through as physicians. Working with physicians since the mid-1950s has taught us a few things, and we know about the risks you will face as your career and lifestyle evolve. We work hard to keep up-to-date on changes in the way you practise your profession as well. We attend meetings, participate in health care seminars, attend medical student education days and physician leadership sessions so that as the seasons of your life evolve and change from generation to generation, the solutions and advice we provide keep up with how you and your colleagues are changing.
Insurance is a strange product: one of the few things you ever deal with in which you make decisions today in order to protect against the changing unknowns of tomorrow, where we commit fixed expenses in return for variable and often unknowable benefits.
We cannot foretell your future, but we can tell you about the future others in your situation have experienced. We can work with you to help make sure you are ready for it. We can help you understand the changes that are happening, and work to make your solutions flexible enough to cover you — no matter what the season.
So much of life is about having choices and being prepared so that when opportunity presents itself, you have the freedom to exercise your options.
Although owning insurance will not change the things that will happen to you in life — the universe will unfold as it should, whether you are prepared for it or not — being prepared will change how you respond. Removing financial uncertainty in the face of adversity is empowering. And empowered, prepared people enjoy the seasons of life far more than those who are held captive by the vagaries of the seasons.
Knowing that I am not the first person to pass this way makes me feel more secure. Knowing I can do something about the seasons of my life makes me feel happy. And knowing I have a choice makes me feel empowered.
Somewhat strangely, I am comfortable knowing that there are some things in life that I have deliberately left to fate or chance, or whatever power it is that makes things happen. I do not have a plan for every contingency because I have consciously decided that there are some situations I will deal with when and if they happen, and not before.
Because I am travelling through seasons that have been travelled by others, I can make informed decisions about what I do. And an informed decision to not take action — to take a chance on a low-risk outcome — is not the same as blindly assuming all will be well. At OMA Insurance, we do not want you to ever assume — we want to help you decide.
While I still find this aspect of my current life-stage to be troubling, it is, at least, somewhat predictable. I understand that I am travelling the same path as so many others, so it does not challenge me more than I can handle — and I know I am not alone. To the extent that I can be, and choose to be, I am prepared. And knowing all that, I actually find life to be fun and exciting, and something to look forward to and fight for.
To put it simply, OMA Insurance is here to help prepare you for life's surprises, to keep you calm in the face of fear, and to make sure you don't face life's risks alone.
We want to empower you, and to help you make decisions that give you options as you experience life's seasons.
For insurance solutions designed to meet doctors' needs, call 1.800.758.1641, or visit www.OMAInsurance.com. Not for profit. All for doctors.