December 31, 2015

"John's Life is an Open Book, But Watch Out. Given a Chance, He'll Read It To You."

I love that quote. Just as I loved the reputed author, Bill Beltz, BNA's CEO from 1980 to 1996. He was also one of my best friends from 1956 -- when he arrived at BNA a year after I did -- until 2003, when he died.

During a recent lunch with a group of BNA retirees, Paul Wojcik, Bill's successor as CEO and another treasured friend, shared Bill's remark after I told some anecdote (which of course I now can't remember) that involved something "normal" people wouldn't disclose. I'm known for doing that sort of thing.

But in my earlier life, I was just the opposite. I avoided sharing personal anecdotes for fear that they might reveal my two darkest secrets -- my homosexuality and my alcoholism. The turnaround came in October, 1977 -- when I came out to my family and friends as a gay man -- followed by the March, 1978 acknowledgement of my alcoholism.

I've spent most of my life following the precept that "anything worth doing is worth overdoing." So this new freedom to discuss my personal life too often results in "over-disclosure."

Still, this sharing of personal information is vital, as I deal with aging, Parkinson's, and other health issues. I keep searching for a primary healthcare provider who is interested in discussing these end-of-life issues with me. The topic was the No. 1 issue on the blog this year. See the post above.

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