As with my previous post, The 10 Worst Things About MS, I’m drawing on my personal experiences here. This disease attacks everybody in a different way, and therefore each MS journey is unique.
I'm out of the Corporate Rat Race
I had a decent career in terms of income and position, but on the whole I found the entire venture to be unfulfilling. Since I stopped working due to MS, I’ve run a lot of “what should I have been” career scenarios in my head. If I had a do-over, I would not again choose the corporate life and all of its associated bullshit. I missed my calling, whatever it was.
Chicks Dig Me
The overused phrase "nothing is sexier than a man in a wheelchair" definitely applies to me. Since I started using a wheelchair, it's as if I've transformed from a solid 6 to a 9+. Kim remains unconvinced of my newfound sexual magnetism. She thinks it's all in my head.
I offer up the photograph on the right, however, as irrefutable evidence of the effect I now have on women. Last year I was in balance mode in my iBot wheelchair, zipping along a casino floor in Las Vegas. Kim was randomly snapping some pictures. Notice the lovely lady on the right, and where her eyes are directed (click on photo to enlarge). I was clearly being checked out. If I had made eye contact with her, it probably would've sealed the deal. But given my fidelity, and the close proximity of my wife, I didn't even acknowledge her as she passed by.
Another broken heart in my wake.
I Don't Feel Rushed Anymore
You know how chaotic life can be when you're a parent, spouse, friend, relative, employee, boss, citizen, and more, all at once. Because I no longer work, 40 to 60 hours a week of craziness has been subtracted from the equation. What a calming effect that has had my life. It's not good that I was forced to retire early, but retirement is good medicine.
I've Met so Many Wonderful People That I Otherwise Wouldn't Have
I was never the kind of person to volunteer at an old folks home or a hospital. I was too busy. Although I had sympathy for disabled people, I can't say that I knew very many (except my mother).
Since I've become a card-carrying member of the disabled community, I have met so many interesting, compassionate, and brave people that I would never have otherwise known. My life is richer for this, and that's why it makes my list of the 10 best things about having MS.
Accessible Tickets at Sporting Events
Boston area professional sports fans are rabid. Both the Patriots and the Red Sox sell out their entire season on the first day. So, if you're not lucky enough to score tickets on that day, you're relegated to buying them on the secondary market, which can often be at a huge mark up- except for wheelchair accessible tickets. I can get those from the ticket office for almost any game, often on short notice, and always at face value.
I've Been Able to Take Stock of What’s Truly Important
It's so cliché for people who have experienced intense trauma to say that they now appreciate life more, but I must tell you, it's true. Before I became disabled, I would attach such importance to items that were relatively trivial. Now that I've gained this wisdom, via the school of hard knocks, I'm a more well-rounded person for it (mentally, if not physically).
I Never Want for a Chair
Think of all the times when you are in need of a chair. Maybe you were at a busy restaurant or bar, and there was no place to sit. Maybe you were walking for a long while and your legs were tired, but the cold wet ground was the only place to rest. I never have this problem. Wherever I go, my chair is sure to follow.
I've Become a More Empathetic Person
I've always been a caring person, but, because I am a fiscal conservative, I used to be a little less empathetic toward the disadvantaged individuals in our society. For example, I felt that the only problem with government assistance was that the system was being taken advantage of by scammers, rather than the fact that many programs were not meeting the needs of the public. I'm still a fiscal conservative, but now I have a renewed appreciation for the struggles that some people endure, through no fault of their own. I know that we can't solve the world’s problems by taxing and spending, but we need to be very thoughtful and compassionate when we make these critical decisions.
I'm Able to Manage This Blog
In high school I was considered a pretty decent writer. In college I took one composition course, and didn't click with the instructor. Then, for the next 23 years all I did was business writing. I always wanted to reconnect with my creative and contemplative self, and because of the time afforded me by my disability I was able to do just that. It has been rewarding in terms of scratching my itch to write, connecting with disabled and healthy people alike, and making a difference in the world.
Handicapped Parking, of Course
I know all those empty handicapped spaces in the front row frustrate you healthy people, but preferred parking is the biggest reason I chose to be disabled in the first place.