Oliver Sacks on living life, detachment, and gratitude

Oliver Sacks is a medical doctor and professor of neurology at the New York University School of Medicine. He is also the author of many popular books, including “Awakenings,” “The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat,” and “Uncle Tungsten.” Dr. Sack recently revealed in a NY Times op-ed (“My Own Life,” Feb. 19, 2015) that he has terminal cancer, a by-product of cancer treatment that he had received nine years ago, and he does not have long to live. About this he writes:

… It is up to me now to choose how to live out the months that remain to me. I have to live in the richest, deepest, most productive way I can. …

Over the last few days, I have been able to see my life as from a great altitude, as a sort of landscape, and with a deepening sense of the connection of all its parts. This does not mean I am finished with life.

On the contrary, I feel intensely alive, and I want and hope in the time that remains to deepen my friendships, to say farewell to those I love, to write more, to travel if I have the strength, to achieve new levels of understanding and insight. …

I cannot pretend I am without fear. But my predominant feeling is one of gratitude.

from “My Own Life,” Oliver Sacks, NY Times, Opinion, Feb 19, 2015