Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Sucks to be You - or - Just Live

If there’s anything I’ve learned from going to hospitals, either as a visitor or now as an inpatient, there will always be people who have it far worse than I do. This is not a sick sort of schadenfreude or ‘sucks to be you,’ but a statement that despite the many curves thrown our direction, life is indeed good and worthy of living rather than simply existing. Moreover, there are so many good and noble things around us that they escape our attention through the din of routine and so-called reality TV.

Take a spin by the water cooler or through the break room at work. Turn on the radio or television and you’ll be treated with enough of a fresh helping of toxic vitriol and hatred to curl your hair. Divisive, dishonest, and ineffectual politics are always the other party’s fault, selfishness reins supreme over the latest group of domestic squabbles that make it to the local page, and aghast, we look down our collective noses, placing great self-importance in maintaining the balance of it all. After all, since the Internet tells all without bias, we are equipped to make a fair and balanced decision. Justice hangs in the balance while we munch on leftovers from last night’s sodium-laden cuisine. Back to the grind, we solved a crisis or two and had a good laugh doing it. Yeah, been there, done that.

My point is not to cast dispersions on the group of who holds court with each other over lunch. To vent is human, to forgive naïve, right? Yeah, something like that. I absolutely appreciate countervailing arguments as long as there’s give-and-take. The problem today, or so it seems, is that people aren’t willing to do much more than parrot talking points, so exploring the impetus behind the opinion rings hollow and it echoes, never reaching a destination.

So, my solution to all this is rather simple – just live. Let me explain.

I don’t watch TV but once in the proverbial blue moon.  I loathe broadcast television because of the inane repetitive advertising and lack of real substance. I’m one of the binge watchers where I wait until the end of a season to get the discs on Netflix or watch the series on demand so I can see episodes in order and at my convenience…and without ads! The irony? I don’t really care to watch the Super Bowl, but will watch the commercials.  Go figure!

But I watched Good Morning America this morning after hearing that Valerie Harper, star of Rhoda, a series I used to watch pretty regularly as a kid, had been diagnosed with inoperable brain cancer and was going to give an interview this morning. I wanted to know how someone who had it all and had her mortality handed to her unceremoniously in a Tupperware dish would respond. Amazingly she used the exact words I did a few days ago, “Why not me?” Great minds think alike, I guess! Her attitude was so positive and her counsel: “just live!” She went on to say, “Don’t go to the funeral until the day of the funeral.” Currently that interview is too new, but she did grant one to another show yesterday.  You can see her same upbeat, positive words shine through here:
I can do that.

I can live…really live. I mean, there’s just so much negativity out there and it’s just too easy to jump in on the carrion of meanness like a pack of jackals. To be fair, my habit to this point had been rather optimistic, but the barrage of cognitive dissonance I see in my country and my world conspires to take me down some days emotionally. So, for me, optimism has become a deliberate and constant choice. Making positive changes is just one of the outcomes. Did I point out that despite the circumstances I’m in here, I haven’t taken my blood pressure medication a single day since arriving? Sure, I could offer lots of quotes and homiletics that support my assertion to show you just how erudite and wise I am, but the fact of the matter is that I, alone, can only make a small difference. Must be that Pay it Forward thing. Whatever works.
Can I ask you to live intentionally in the positive, even if it’s just enough to make someone smile? After all, someone could easily just look at me and say glibly ‘sucks to be you,’ and yeah, perhaps it does. After all, I’ll bet you’re not peeing in a bottle several times a day or feeling like death warmed over on when those unseen blood counts dip below some intangible level I can’t see, but seriously, I don’t see it that way. Far more than just exist, far more than simply being alive, I’m going to live. I daresay you have plenty to really live for. Do it today before “normal” becomes the goal!
Be well, stay strong, much love to you all!
Today's video is just a song I like...Remember, this blog is as much personal musings as much documenting my journey. Besides, if you back-mask it, I get my health back... ;)

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