Fortunately I have enjoyed a lifetime of good health, fitness, vitality, wellbeing, and the freedom and independence those confer. So what a shock, without warning, to find myself in hospital for five days over Easter.

It was nothing life-threatening, but I did need intravenous antibiotics and was woken up during the night for more medication, checks and tests.

So while you guzzled your chocolate eggs and hot cross buns, I was hooked to the wall with plastic tubes restricting my movement, like a junkyard dog chained to a stake. Freedom curtailed, no appetite or zest for life, with sleep deprivation prejudicing my normally caring, understanding nature.

“Let’s reset the bar and count our blessings: for our health, who and what we are, where we live and the freedoms we enjoy”

Relatively it was no big deal, but a rude awakening to just how much we take for granted and what really counts in life.

Most of us blithely accept that we can see, hear, think, reason, walk, talk, communicate, cry, laugh, love and all the rest. And can practise those in a safe society where we may speak freely, invest in PPI, make an iffy whiplash claim, assist Nigerian banks or vote to leave the EU.

Our lives would be even more splendid and fulfilled if we took a moment to breathe deeply and contemplate our good fortune in enjoying an independent police force, a proud and respected military, and a free National Health Service and social care.

Let’s reset the bar and count our blessings: for our health, who and what we are, where we live and the freedoms we enjoy.

Consider our luck in having a job, a partner and a family, even if it is a zero hours contract, an irritable spouse and kids that are unmanageable tyrants. Believe me: look around, it could be so much worse.

My loss of freedom and independence was brief and temporary; often it takes a permanent major setback to teach us, all too late, what is really important in life.

The bigger picture

In retail we are close to the money. We swipe the debit or credit card, put cash in the till, and our performance is regularly appraised with targets, statistics, bonuses and commissions.

If we are not careful we will begin to measure everything, including happiness, in terms of cash, credit rating, cars, houses, brands, BOGOFs and other materialistic flimflam.

“When I was in hospital, my powerful Mercedes car, healthy bank balance and gold lamé Gucci underpants very quickly assumed their real status”

When I was in hospital, my powerful Mercedes car, healthy bank balance and gold lamé Gucci underpants very quickly assumed their real status. Compared with my health, freedom and independence they scored nil.

Of course, now that I am an invulnerable superman again it would be oh so easy to revert to type – no way, Señor José.

I intend to add a bit of scope to my thinking and enrich my life by keeping what is “really” important in perspective.

I am not attracted to becoming a monk, social worker, doormat, easy touch, or better than good Samaritan. I will not be changing my diet or mode of attire and I don’t intend to give away all I possess, or spend hours watching the sunset and mooning over rainbows.

I will, however, reappraise my values, count my blessings and most definitely not take so much for granted.

That way I believe I will enhance my life, and become a happier, better, more open-minded peer, husband, dad, employer and taxpayer.

It has taken me years to get the message, so don’t waste your own time – learn from my experiences. Sit down, take that deep breath and consider how lucky you are. Then tomorrow, whatever the weather, the sun will shine in your heart, in the store and be reflected in the figures.

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