Don’t Regret Working Too Hard

April 5th, 2011

Don't Regret Working Too Hardby Peter Bregman

I was lying in bed, safely reading a magazine, when the fear arose. It started somewhere between my stomach and my chest, and it radiated outward. Like adrenaline coursing through my body after a sudden fright, it was a physical sensation, but it felt slower, deeper, wider, as it radiated to the tops of my arms and legs. It felt hot. I started to sweat. My body felt weak.

I put down the magazine and thought about death.

My mother-in-law, who was in her late sixties, died not long ago after a long battle with cancer; she was first diagnosed in her forties. A few weeks ago I received a call from a friend in her forties, who one morning found a lump in her breast and a few days later had a mastectomy. At lunch last week, a friend told me his business partner came home from vacation feeling a little under the weather; within a week he was dead from an aggressive cancer he never knew he had. That was right after he told me that his father-in-law was recently killed crossing the street.

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