Certain life events focus the mind extraordinarily. Famous examples are the prospect of being hanged or the experience of being shot at. Other life events resonate with irony. I just had a life event that falls squarely in both categories.
First the irony: I just retired from my most recent job, with Pima County. After seven and a half years with the County my effective retirement date was November 13th. I was looking forward to a new stage in my life in which I could still do interesting things, but at my pace. Then, on the first day of my retirement, I suffered a massive heart attack. There it was: the hot breath of the irony dragon.
The focusing came the next day, after I was rushed into the catheter lab to have a stent implanted that restored normal blood flow and eliminated the pain. Neither the pain nor my concern that I might spend retirement in an urn on the mantle focused my mind. It was this: the realization that I was lucky.