Wednesday, November 30, 2016
Here is a link to the larger MS supplement, which includes six other articles —a must read for anyone affected by MS.
Tuesday, November 29, 2016
As a full-time wheelchair user, and someone who no longer works, I spend the better part of each day indoors, by myself. It’s not so bad, however, because I live in a glass house.
Two sides of my living room are nothing but windows—an observatory of sorts. When my eyes are not glued to my computer screen writing, reading, corresponding, researching, or watching Netflix, I’m gazing out my windows, and I love what I see.
A couple of days ago, a flock of small, genetically identical, dark brown birds with white spots descended upon my lawn. Probably 200 of them. I suppose half were male and the other half female, but they all looked the same to me (is that racism, sexism, speciesism?). I didn’t recognize their classification, and I couldn’t find it on the internet. They moved about independently, randomly, at a frantic pace, feeding on invisible morsels between my blades of grass. Everything in their world occurred at hyper-speeds, a blur to our human senses.
Each time one bird violated the personal space of another, a brief confrontation ensued. Wings flapped, and some unknowable set of rules determined the winner. The victor held his ground while the vanquished was excommunicated to another part of the lawn.
There are few analogues for this behavior in the human world. Once people start acting independently, we are loath to come together for the common good without first engaging in considerable debate, arm-twisting, and deal making. Yet here we sit at the top of the food chain…for now.
But I digress.
Sitting in my wheelchair, peering out my windows, I’m also treated to some top-notch people watching. My neighbors Sue, Susan, and Kri walk their dogs (Jake, Rocko, and Sadie) several times a day. It’s not only dog walkers, though. All sorts of people wander down our street. Sometimes I recognize them from the larger neighborhood. Most of the time I don’t. They come in all sizes and shapes: young and pretty, old and weathered, athletic, disabled, and everything in between. Why this parade by my window? There’s an attraction at the end of my street—the Atlantic Ocean.
Animals and people are fascinating, but unreliable. The scenery outside my house—it never disappoints. The six-foot-tall window immediately to the right of my computer screen may as well be a work of art, a painting. The lower two feet of this masterpiece depicts my front yard, the street, and my neighbor’s front yard. This is where the strange flock of birds did their thing. This is where my neighbors walk their dogs and take their constitutionals. This is where the snow piles up.
Still higher in the portrait, the next foot captures the opposite shore of the cove. A well-maintained walking/biking path runs along that piece of coastline. As I watch folks make their way along this Greenbelt, I am quite certain that nobody is using it because they must, but rather because they choose to. People follow this path for the journey itself, not because they need to be anywhere in particular along its route.
So yes, I am stuck in the house, especially in the winter, but I have plenty to watch in my neighborhood, and for this I am grateful. Everyone should be so lucky.
Tuesday, November 15, 2016
I can still remember the questions I pondered as a child:
- What will my job be when I grow up?
- Who will I marry? (Will she be hot?)
- Where will I live?
- How many kids will I have?
- Will I grow old? How old?
- I will become rich.
- I will become famous.
- Nobody will ever tell me what to do.
- Will I be lucky enough to find real love? (I was)
- Will I have my health? (I did for the first 38 years)
- Will I lead a happy and contented life? (I have)
- Will I have a fulfilling career? (not really, but it paid the bills)
- Will I be a good person? (with some exceptions, I think I have been)
- I will not presume that life owes me anything; any positive experiences beyond being born are simply frosting on the cake.
- I will be a lifelong learner, a rational and open-minded thinker, and a candid, yet polite, communicator.
- I will not waste precious resources on jealousy, hatred, or revenge.
- I will try to do my small part to improve the human condition.
- I will not blindly adhere to hollow societal norms.
- I will live each day as if it will be my last.
- I will be true to my family and friends.
- I will be reliable and humble.
- I will have fun, lots of it.
- Even when life becomes difficult, I will endeavor to persevere.
If young Mitch could have peered into the future, I’m quite certain he would have been disappointed with what he saw. But young Mitch wasn’t smart enough to discern what a good life looks like. How could he have? He was just a kid.
Monday, November 7, 2016
Tuesday, November 1, 2016
At one point I recount how 17 years ago my family doctor said I "probably have a good 20 years left." That was a misunderstanding which I explain in some detail in the upcoming book, so don't do the math and think that I only have 3 years left to live!
Many thanks to journalist Joy Hollowell for a wonderful article.
Click here to read.