Because the long awaited Boston Support Group meeting at MGH is going to be this Saturday, I thought I’d resurrect this blog.
Yesterday was full of changes and reminders of the changes I’ve already withstood. Yesterday, I turned 52 years-old and I had to return Ruckus to the Crazy Acres farm (the great dane I had been taking care of over the storm had to go back to the farm where Denim is also from). Hey, if I’ve survived before, I can do it again. Life goes on.
I’ve been following a thread in the National Ataxia Foundation’s facebook page. I’m finding it very upsetting. Lots of people are joining in and listing all the things that Ataxia has “taken away from them”! Oh give me a break! What is the benefit in doing this? This image was my response:
but it didn’t to make an impression. People still continued to mourn what they could no longer do the way they used to be able to.
It so nice to have a place to go and a mission to accomplish where I can go to just be Donna and not be defined by Ataxia. Crazy Acres in Ipswich, the farm where Denim is from, is one of those places. I volunteer there a couple times a week and when I’m there I am the “laundry-folder”, “supper-dish-preparer”, “dog-dish-washer”, “dog-cuddler”…Granted, I wouldn’t be there if it weren’t for my Ataxia but when I’m there, I don’t FEEL that is the reason I’m there. I’m there because I enjoy it there. I love what they do there and I want to help where I can. I love watching Denim run free in the arena. I love watching her stand up in the backseat of my car, tail wagging when she realizes where we’re going…
This is a video of me goofing off with my kids several years ago. Sometimes we all just take ourselves too seriously. We just need to be able to laugh at ourselves. We were being silly, not foolish. Both kids (my son’s behind the camera) were right there to catch me if I fell.
This post reminded me of this: http://pegoleg.com/2015/01/05/why-i-would-rather-try-to-find-the-funny-than-the-meaning-of-life/. It really made me think. It made me realize that we really can’t control everything that happens to us but that we can control our response. Sometimes we just have to laugh.
Oh yah, I could get all depressed over the fact that I used to be able to play basketball (well gave it a good try anyways) but that’s no fun. Wouldn’t it just be hysterical if a bunch of Ataxians played basketball together? When the Ataxians are laughing, and the non-Ataxians are laughing at the laughter, that’s just a bunch of people laughing and having fun together. All that laughter can bring anyone out of the doldrums of feeling sorry for themselves.
In response to a daily prompt from WordPress, I looked at page 82 of the nearest book, “What the Dog Saw” by Malcolm Gladwell. I was told to read the third sentence, hmmm… “Thank you for changing my life,”… Ya, Ataxia has changed my life. Am I thankful? As I sat in my favorite chair exhausted and panting after just folding one load of laundry, I thought about it. OK, if I didn’t have Ataxia and took breaks after every little chore, I might be considered a lazy bum. But I’m allowed down-time without the fear of being judged. For that, I’m thankful.
I have always liked birds. A bird is free. To me, they symbolize a life with no inhibitions; without being restricted by Ataxia. The chickadee, especially, is cheerful and always optimistic. These are qualities I admire. Like the bird feeder: I can forget to fill it, but when I do, they’re always forgiving and swarm to it singing the whole time. They live in the moment, cheerfully eating not worrying where tomorrow’s supply will come from.
With the new year just around the corner, I got to thinking about how we need to hold on, at least a little bit, to the past. (Well, at least I do.) Even though I may look forward to new experiences, I still cling to the “old standby-s”. I need to hold onto that optimism that what happened in the past can and will happen again. Unfortunately, sometimes this will not hold true in all cases when dealing with my Ataxia, which is progressive. However, my philosophy is to expect the best and then just go with what I get. (One reason I can go sky-diving is because I know the ground will still be there as it has been in the past and I know my instructor has done this several times already.) Just knowing the constants seems to help the situation.