Thursday, March 26, 2009
MS and Me: A Life Bisected, and Dissected - Part Three
Given my newfound appreciation for the value of time, when I looked back on my healthy life I was aghast at how much of it I'd wasted on negative emotions and self-defeating actions. I lost irretrievable, irreplaceable days and weeks and months and years spent depressed, or resentful, or distracted, or obsessed, time that I will never get back, ever. Rather than burning a torch for some lost love, or agonizing over life's many disappointments, I could have been making the difficult changes needed to generate my own joy. Instead, I chose to allow myself to wallow in despair, embracing it with the fervor of a suicide bomber. Incredibly, all of those nights I spent sitting on the couch with my head in my hands only accomplished one thing, putting a dent in the cushions. In fact, all that emotional turmoil served only to make the situations I anguished over worse. What woman wants to return to a man who has dissolved into blubbering goo at her leaving him? What problem has ever been solved by a soul consumed with gloom? Eventually, simple self-preservation forced me to let go, each time surprised to find that I had somehow survived the wreckage. I now know that my relief could have come much sooner, at any time I made the conscious choice to simply let go. What kept me hanging on was an odd mix of ego and insecurity, my ego not wanting to admit that any such disaster could befall a person as wonderful as me, and my insecurities afraid that said disaster only confirmed what a sap I really was.. Of course, heartbreak and disappointment will always hurt, and that hurt must be experienced. But prolonging the pain, and feeding on it, serves only to waste time, whose value rises with each passing day. If you were suddenly told that you had only 100 days to live, how many of them would you choose to spend miserable? Ultimately, we've all been given "X" number of days. We don't know what our "X" is, but each day’s passing brings us closer to it. Every morning we wake up, healthy or not, given the opportunity to remake ourselves. We do not have to let the person we were yesterday define who we are today. The promise of each new dawn can be squandered by repeating patterns and habits that have always held us back, or we can decide that today we will finally treat ourselves with kindness. This awareness has helped me deal with the hard reality of disability, and with the horror of watching multiple sclerosis gnaw away at me. Each morning, I contemplate my situation, confirm which body parts are working, acknowledge that it all sucks incredibly hard, and then work up the resolve to make the best of my bad situation. Today, the right side of my body is useless, but I am still able to marvel at my incredibly caring and wonderful wife, post to my blog, hobble around my apartment, and get into my wheelchair and make wacky videos. So, today is going to be a good day. Tomorrow? Well, tomorrow I will go through the whole process all over again...
Posted at 11:31 PM