Tuesday, April 15, 2014

My Old Life

Life (Photo credit: Light Knight)
Do I miss my old life, the one before MS?
You bet I do.
When do I miss it?
Every time I think about it.
How often do I think about it?
Not very often.
My life was quite satisfactory before MS reared its ugly head. Yet, I spend so little time lamenting my losses. I’m too busy living in the moment, my new moment, my new life. So much of what I thought defined me as a person no longer exists. Thankfully, my new interests and passions are proving to be satisfactory in their own right.

I’ll contrast this with my father’s situation. As he aged and lost the ability to enjoy his lifelong pursuits, his world kept shrinking until he sat in front of the TV and watched ESPN most of the day. He wasn’t open-minded and willing to explore alternatives, and he suffered for that in his later years.

I’m not claiming that my quality of life is as good as it used to be. But I’ve learned not to dwell on this. I live in harmony with my healthy past. My memories bring me more joy than resentment. From time to time I look at old photos or share stories with friends and family. I even write blog posts which draw heavily from these memories. But when I am done reminiscing, I occupy myself with one of my new pursuits, to stave off self-pity or wallowing. It works most of the time.

My message, therefore, is this. Yes, cultivate and pursue your interests with enthusiasm. Don’t hold back. But be wary of defining yourself by these same passions, because things can change in a heartbeat. Remember, the name of the game is to live a fulfilling life. Just because you may have found one formula for accomplishing this, keep in mind that there are other means to the same end.
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  1. Very, very wise words. Our choice is to be bitter and wallow in self pity or live with what we can still do and enjoy and make it great. Easy to get caught up in how things used to be. Thanks for reminding us not to do this.

  2. Sometimes we really learn a lot from people who show us what not to do!

  3. You have such a healthy attitude toward your situation. Living in the present can be difficult, but it certainly relieves stress.

  4. Hey Mitch, I was quite successful in following the "satisfaction model" that you described, but I find that as my disease continues to progress not wistfully reflecting on my healthy past gets harder and harder. I even find myself sometimes in the ugly looking back on my lesson disabled past.

    Been feeling kind of crappy the last few weeks (think I have some kind of hard to beat bug), which has only amplified the situation. Must regain focus and occupy myself with the present, as you wisely suggests.

    The Red Sox sucking so far this year hasn't help matters any, either. What a difference a year makes!

  5. Kathy, well said, and you are very welcome.

    Daphne, learning from others' mistakes…

    Muffie, it's a process. I'm usually successful but occasionally not.

    Marc, it's not so much that I follow a philosophy of living in the moment, as it is that I just try to stay busy in the moment. Like I said, results are mixed but generally positive. Sorry to hear that you're feeling poor. I wouldn't mind the Red Sox losing so much if the Yankees weren't winning so much.

  6. Sorry about the garbled nature of my previous comment. The voice recognition software on the iPad sucks big time.

    About the Yankees – Tanaka is my new irrational hatred. Watched him yesterday, this guy is for real, is only 25 years old, and will be the bane of my existence for years to come. Ugh.

  7. Been trying the positive route for 27 years, reinvented myself so many times I have to check my license to make sure it's me in the mirror! For me this is just taking too long, running out of new things to do.


  8. Andy, thanks for stopping by and commenting. I checked out your blog and love your no-nonsense posts.

    I'm wary of being labeled "Mister Positive." I'd rather be thought of as "Mister Realistic" with a side of positivity.

    Reinventing oneself can definitely become tiresome. The whole MS thing, for that matter, is quite tiresome.

  9. I play cribbage on-line with Mitch all the time. He is a positive thinker and very outgoing. Do the games take any longer than normal?...if they do, I don't notice it. I have a disability also that is progressing but now, whenever I think about it, I just smile and realize how grateful I should be for who I am. Thanks Mitch, you have enlightened me as well as others. And yes, I miss your dad very much also, he was a good friend.

  10. Ed (Eve), I'm glad to catch you among my friends as well. To find the particular post I wanted you to read go to the search box on the top right and type in the words "Passadumkeag Stream"