We live in a world of fast cars, fast food and fast computes. Hurry up,
faster, faster. deadlines. time is money, early bird catches the worm. Is it any wonder we seem to be programmed from infancy to see the world at 100kms an hour? It’s too bad, we miss so much. I have MS and it has forced me to slow down. So I guess you could say that this is another benefit of this disease. See, I told you, if you look hard enough you can find a benefit to almost anything.
Children seem to understand the concept of going at full steam and then slowing down and even stopping for a time. Many adults have forgotten how to slow down. They work hard to amass ‘stuff’, and they play hard to counter the effects of working hard. There is the mortgage to pay, the groceries to get, the laundry, the garden, the kids’ hockey, baseball, saving for college, deadlines at the office . . . the list is never ending. Before you know it a decade or two has passed and you don’t remember the ‘90s. Oops. Many experts agree that if you slow down you will live longer. Like a battery, our bodies need time to recharge. Four hours of sleep at night is not enough. Besides it isn’t just our bodies that need to recharge, it is also our minds and our spirits. I do not mean to imply that we all need to quit work and move to a deserted island somewhere. Actually, we also need stimulation. Work can provide that. We need to feel useful. A family and it’s responsibilities can provide that. What we need is to find the optimal balance. There is a time to stop and smell the roses and there is a time to work overtime. Balance. Easy to say, tough to do.
MS is a way to impose balance. Or at least it forces us to strive for a balance. And don’t misunderstand, it is tough. How do you stop functioning at your chosen career after 20 years? How do you give up something you love, like dancing, because your legs won’t work? It is damn hard! And finding a balance between expending energy and conserving energy is just half the battle. Self satisfaction is vital. We usually judge the worth of someone by their accomplishments, their work. If you no longer work how will you be judged? Do you really care? Many of us judge ourselves using the same criteria.
A person’s feelings of self-worth must now be based on something more valuable than work. Are you a contributing member of the global village? Do you strive to improve yourself and others? Are you allowing this itty bitty disease to control you or are you embracing it and forcing it to conform to your lifestyle. Multiple sclerosis does not define who I am it is merely one part of the definition. Like the fact that I have red hair and that I am right handed. Yes I have a disease that limits my lifestyle in many ways but it does not control who I am. I will survive this time of hardship in my life. And like all speed bumps I will get over it and continue on my journey. Life is a wondrous voyage and a risk worth taking.