Have you ever noticed that it takes a tragic or near-tragic experience to get most people to change course. Whether it be illness, an accident, or the loss of a loved one, we need some kind of jarring event to wake us up from the malaise of our everyday lives. In his new book, Bobblehead Dad: 25 Lessons I Forgot I Knew, Jim Higley calls himself a “bobblehead,” like the ever-smiling toy baseball player or cartoon character with spring-loaded heads, he was going through the motions of life with a perfect grin, but not really “connecting with the events, experiences, and people” in his life, especially his children. Jim spent 44 years bobbling until he stretched his bobblehead a little too far, and the spring snapped– he was diagnosed with prostate cancer and he found himself with “an entire summer at home removed from of life’s obligations.” Jim decided to take this time to reset his life, reconsider his relationships with friends and family, and develop “road map to living the second half of my life with intent.”
Though Jim had cancer, and his road to recovery is inspirational, this is not a book about cancer. This is a book about reconnecting with your life and your loved ones. For me, the book is the wake-up call that I need every now and then to remind me to both appreciate what I have, and to consider my own decisions in the context of what I want for myself, and what my wife and I want for our family. For me, Jim’s most powerful lessons are the ones that involve the relationships with the people around us. For example, Jim’s Lesson 5: The best caregivers have received the best care, suggests that we not only take time to care for those close to us, but also rely on those people to care for us as well. Jim has spent a life caring for others, and when he needed help, he allowed himself to accept it from friends, family, and loved ones. This lesson also highlights the need to tend to the relationships in our lives so we have people on whom we can rely.
Overall, this is one of the most heartfelt, honest, and thought provoking books that I’ve read in a long time. Each of us has a reason for the decisions we’ve made, and Jim’s book serves as a great reminder to make sure to enjoy the ride. Skip the tragedy, read the book.