Wednesday, May 11, 2011

The dangers of lamenting the past

Oh great, I just hit some combination of buttons with butter fingers and just erased about 5 paragraphs! Shit. Oh well, I'm retired, I'll just start over. Anyone that reads this blog knows how I'm uber diligent about trying to make sure I don't fall into any of the mental and emotional traps that having MS puts in front of you. And since writing it down is so cathartic for me, I'm going to talk about it! As some of you also know, I was the 40 something guy in REALLY good shape. I had never really let myself get out of shape since high school wrestling actually. And once I got diagnosed, I went into overdrive with it with the running and working out. So with that frame of reference comes some good energy. I was always the guy who'd do the physical task that needed to be done. If it was play with the kids while everyone else relaxed; I did it. If it was mow the lawn and work in the yard day, I'd do that to; after 6 or 7 miles of course! So BFD, what's that mean now? Well it means I still have a hard time just watching people just BE. Just standing in the sun, or walking around at an outdoor festival or whatever. It makes me jealous, and we can't have that. It serves no purpose. Actually it does, but it's not a good purpose.

So I'm sitting at mass Sunday morning and I feel that pang of envy just watching other dads messing with the kiddos in the back of church as they got ready for their first communion. Yes, I'm catholic. Me and God are cool. Me and religion on the other hand.... Suffice it so say that going to church saves me loads in tuition. I am not against it at all for sure, but I just struggle with church personally. If only there were a Native American church and school in Dayton! But I digress. I can get green with envy doing almost anything where there are people walking and not actually thinking "hey, this walking shit and me deciding when I'm done is awesome!".

So here's where I state the obvious, but like I said before, writing is so cathartic for me. No amount of lamenting and hand wringing and thinking about what I used to be able to do is going to do shit. I mean really, isn't that obvious? Well yes it is, but it doesn't keep your mind from going there. But it serves not one, single, solitary positive purpose. The only purpose is to slip you into thinking about what you can't do anymore. And since that 'anymore' is probably final with progressive MS, what freakin' good is that? Answer: no good at all. I mean if I'm going to be happy I have to be OK with where I'm at. Notice I didn't say I have to LIKE where I'm at. Pardon the french, but that would be fucking impossible. If you like MS, you are whacked. I hear those "it's the best thing that's ever happened to me, it puts my priorities in order" lines and just shake my head. Brother, you must have been pretty screwed up then. Well I wasn't. I loved my life. I was very vital and definitely squeezed life pretty hard.

But what's happening in the here and now IS my life. It's what I need to move forward from or I'm only moving backwards. It's not the life I'd choose, but I CAN'T DO ANYTHING ABOUT IT. It will require diligence, of that we can be certain. But I can't continue to look on able people with envy. It is 180 degrees opposed to me being happy now. And why can't I be happy now? The only person in control of that is me; I can be happy. But not if all I do is bemoan the past.

And in the grand scheme of things, it could be a hell of a lot worse. I can still do everything required to live a normal life. Now the definition of normal is where that gets fuzzy. But I can still walk, make my own food, clean and feed myself and I do have enough walking chops to go to the grocery for a short jaunt, or caulk four new windows (I did that yesterday :-)). No I can't go running. No I can't enter a racquetball tournament. No I can't sit out in 90 degree heat for an hour and be OK. But BFD, right? I mean the things that have been taken away are decidedly not things that are required to thrive. As a matter of fact, they probably defined me too much. I mean did it really matter that I could beat you in a foot race, or that I was ranked in racquetball in the state of Ohio? No it didn't. It sure seemed to at the time and I'd love to still be golfing and playing, but damn, I can still walk. It is so cliche to talk about getting back to 'the things that matter'. I hate that shit sometimes, but here I am in the middle of it now and I know what they are saying. It's true.

MS is a disease of almost constant re-calibration. NOT doing so is the destructive part. If you don't recalibrate from time to time with what you can do then all you are going to do is lament the past. And you read the title, right? HaHa! Seriously, I absolutely hate re-calibrating because all you're doing is resetting your frame of reference to constantly diminishing ability. But the alternative is sitting in the corner in the fetal position or taking anti-depressants. You all know I'm not that guy so I have to say good bye to Lew the wannabe athlete. I mean really, beating ass in racquetball never did make me a living, it just stroked my ego. Not that I didn't enjoy that, but it's not what makes you really happy because you lose that stuff with age too, but you never lose a good mindset. Not if you are into mental maintenance. Let's go Wings! Down 3-0 and forcing a game 7, they are GOING to win the cup damnit!