I never was a little kid – at least internally. From the time I was able to form coherent thought I was a fifty-year old man in a kid’s body and much more inclined towards pragmatism than my friends. Because of that nature as I approached the precipice of adulthood at eighteen I spent a lot of time trying to develop a good set of mental tools to get me through life, and came up with these half-dozen personal rules:
- Taking inventory of my interests and carefully choosing how I’d spend my time
- Avoiding trouble and in doing so learn from other people’s mistakes
- Thinking through problems the way water always flows to the lowest level
- Making everything negotiable when it came to changing myself.
- Re-casting challenges as a matter of endurance, then hanging on like a bulldog.
- Having faith in the future, that “maybe tomorrow will be a better day”
I figured that by following these guidelines I’d get through life with a minimum of fuss, solving problems efficiently and avoiding the setbacks that my friends encountered, but as Napoleon said “no battle plan survives contact with the enemy”. That inner fifty-year old made it difficult at times to adapt to social trends and mean old Mister Genetics blessed me with autoimmune issues that have had a game-changing effect on every aspect of my life, but I was still able to hang on to #6, that “maybe tomorrow would be a better day”
…but it’s getting more and more difficult to keep telling myself that and I often fear that there are no more “do-overs” in my life, especially with physical issues. I thought ankylosing spondylitis was the major game-changer in my life, but then I fractured my ankle and that became the major game changer…right up until I took a tumble down our stairs and damaged my knee.
Now my game, my life has truly changed and while I may not totally housebound I am pretty close to it and my best efforts have not been equal to the challenge. There are a lot of things I cannot due (not for the lack of trying) and I struggle with wondering if I don’t have that many more “better days” left to me. It’s a bitter pill to swallow and while it takes effort to combat that bitterness there are two excellent ways to do so:
- Service – doing something for someone else
- Gratitude – expressing thanks for what I do have
That second remedy is why I cherish Thanksgiving – and by “Thanksgiving” I don’t mean the traditional holiday with the Pilgrims, Squanto showing them how to fertilize crops with dead fish and all the emotional baggage the holiday has acquired recently. I’m talking about my own personal “thanks-that-I-am-giving”
- I’m stuck in my house a lot?
- Isn’t it great that I’ve got a nice place with comfy places to sit and plenty of DVDs to watch
- We’re far away from family and old friends?
- What a blessing to have Facetime and Skype to keep in touch with my whole family.
- An A/S flare keeps me from walking or doing simple tasks?
- My Beautiful Saxon Princess loves me and selflessly aids me in everything.
…and (despite what I said before) tomorrow very well may be a better day.