I used to think the disease I have (ARCA1) is a curse. Some days are better than others. Many physical things that I used to take for granted can be a challenge at times. Right now, most of it revolves around walking, balance and coordination.
In the past few weeks and months, however, I have come to see my condition as somewhat of a blessing. I know that not everyone in my situation or worse feels the same. With good reason. There are people I know who are far more encumbered.
In my case, I have consciously made a choice, I guess. I choose to see my disease as a blessing. I suppose I don’t have much of an alternative. But, I’d rather have a positive outlook.
For what it’s worth, here are some of my thoughts on the subject:
Every day, I see people in a rush. They seem to be in a hurry to get to wherever they’re going. If they are driving, they honk at the other traffic. Or I see them running for the bus. These and many other things are beyond my capabilities. I am unable to drive. I can barely run for more than a few seconds. If you can call what I do ‘running’.
I have to focus on moving slowly. Sometimes concentrating more than I’d like to on simple tasks like walking and talking.
At some point, I began to wonder if taking things slow was really so bad. I mean sure, I’m unable to do what most people do, but I’ve also not governed by the rules that seem to stress most people out. Not having to worry about running around like a chicken allows me to relax and take my time doing the few things I am good at.
So then, the question is one of whether I am at a disadvantage by having some physical challenges. I would argue that I’m not. I feel I’m actually better off than most able-bodied people.
Make It Count
I’ve come to see that most the things I did in the past were unimportant. I see now that there was no focus. I didn’t really know who I was, much less what I was doing. Hence, most of my activities left me unhappy and unfulfilled due to their sheer futility. But, that’s life. Mistakes are fuel for learning.
Getting a diagnosis that meant I would likely be immobile in the near future, help to re-focus my energy. Upon that news, I realized things had to change. It started slowly – perhaps slower than I would have liked. But, now I can honestly say that I am keenly aware of what I should do and what I should avoid. I do my best to stay on course. I know that I have a limited time to do what I need to do. I avoid most things that are mindless distractions. I try to stick to the things that matter.
I might never have known that or even cared about all this if I’d never had my condition.
Life Is Tough But I’m Tougher
I know that I am not the only one to have faced adversity. But, I’d like to think I’m handling it well.
Before I was diagnosed, it might have been said that I lacked motivation. That was definitely accurate. I lacked motivation for most things. Even stuff I enjoyed. I was depressed – both due to my medical condition and due to the fact that I wasn’t doing anything worthwhile.
I was spending increasing days in bed, not even doing the martial arts I so love.
Now, I’ve developed my own periodized weight program and I’m doing well at it. I am able to push myself where I may not have been able to do so before. I go to the gym 6 days a week now to do weights. In addition, I help out at Kombat Arts Training Academy. I am studying for my Personal Trainer certification. And maintaining this blog.
I keep on pushing forward and find I’m having fun doing it.
Seeing The Light
I don’t mean to imply that I’m some guru who’s found inner-peace. I have however found what I’m supposed to be doing. At least partially. And that has given me a lot. I’ve come to realize that days aren’t always going to go my way and I’m OK with that. I know that the struggles I go through are making me stronger and more resilient. That gives me a certain amount of peace.
I find I don’t really get upset as I once did if I happen to stumble or do something uncoordinated.
I was watching The Boomer List on Netflix and heard a great quote. John Leguizamo mentioned his father used to say “Happiness is learning to live with unhappiness.” Ain’t that the truth?