26. Laugh. Even if you don’t feel like it.

 

Who says TV is bad for you?  I know I heard that somewhere.  Maybe it was just sitting too close to the television set that I was warned about?  Anyway, contrary to popular belief, I think television and movies can be good for you.  In the movie, What About Bob, Bob takes a vacation from his problems.  TV can offer a tiny vacation from your problems. A few minutes to laugh or solve a crime, and forget about that doctors appointment coming up,  or that test you have to take,  or whatever it is that you don’t really want to do.  And, for those of us who aren’t able to physically do much besides reading and surfing the internet, sometimes movies and television are all we have to keep busy.  Well  that,  and writing a blog will keep you pretty busy! 

When I could no longer do things with my kids that required physical movement of any kind,  watching TV was something we could do together. Each week when our favorite programs were on, they would actually come out of their rooms and spend a few minutes with their mother!  Even though they no longer live at home,  we still watch television and movies together.  My oldest daughter and I watch The Middle almost every week.  My youngest daughter and I try to catch up on Grey’s Anatomy most Friday’s when she comes over. 

The same day I received my third confirmation that, yes, I had what doctors considered to be a terminal, incurable, and untreatable disease,  my husband and I went straight to a movie theatre.  Why not, right? We both had the whole day off of work, why waste it being sad and depressed? I had, according to everyone “in the know” (neurologists), at the very least, a couple of years for that.   So, we went to see, There’s Something About Mary.   Definitely the most hilarious movie of 1998. So, when my mind would have normally been devoured by sadness, instead, I smiled and laughed for 119 minutes. Probably the best thing I could have done at the time.  

Now there are probably close to a million channels (okay,  not quite) to choose from,  streaming on Roku, Amazon Fire Stick,  etc..  Although there are way too many shows not worth watching,  there are some really great ones out there too.   You can now watch them anytime.  No more waiting all week,  or even all year to watch the annual showing of holiday programs or movies.   If you are stuck in a bad mood,  or feeling down, a funny movie or sitcom can be just the ticket,  to at least give you a break from the way you are feeling.  The more you can laugh,  the better you will feel.  I  promise.  Laughter  really,  sometimes,  is the best medicine.  So,  try it. The next time you are feeling down,  watch an episode of The Middle,  or find What About Bob on Netflix.   I  guarantee you will feel a little better!

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25. You Are Never Alone

I have a beautiful wooden clock that my grandmother gave me,  that was made by my grandfather.  It was a kit,  I’m sure.  A mantle clock,  one that you have to wind once a week to keep it going. It chimes on the quarter hour.  I love it,  because of who made it,  and the memories it holds.  I am not the best at keeping it wound.  Since I can’t do it myself (you know,  because of the whole ALS thing) ,  I have to remember to have someone else wind it for me,  and since I often forget,  this also means setting the clock.   You are supposed to set it by stopping every fifteen minutes to allow it to chime,  and then continue on until you reach the correct time.  This rarely happens.  Or,  one of the three spots it needs wound will remain unwound,  there’s always something,  and the clock gets off kilter and chimes the wrong number of times when it chimes,  or just doesn’t chime at all.  It may be two o’clock,  and my clock will chime ten times,  because we have screwed it up,  and it thinks it’s ten  o’clock.  Or,  it is quarter after the hour,  and my clock chimes as if it is half past the hour.  You get the idea.

I love clocks.  I have four in my family room alone.  I have another mantle clock that is much older,  from the late nineteenth century, and it also must be wound to keep time.  It chimes on the hour and half hour.  I have had it worked on,  and it keeps perfect time.  If you wind it properly.  We rarely do.  So,  as you might guess,  it is rarely chiming the correct number of times to match the hour it reads.  It is a real pain to reset a clock like this to get it chiming two times at two o’clock,  and three times at three o’clock,  etc…  But,  I noticed something odd not long after I started using my grandfather’s clock.  No matter how much we screw it up,  it somehow resets itself.  It may be midnight and it will  chime as if it is only 5:30,  because we finally wound it after days of letting it wind down.  And,  by the time I notice it chiming the next day, it has somehow corrected itself.  Weird.  Right?  There really is no explanation for it.  But,  I find myself , when it gets out of sync,  thinking,  “Grandpa,  you are going to have to fix the clock again because we messed it up.”  And,  before I know it,  it’s fixed!  A lot of people would say it must just reset,  but I know that just doesn’t happen with this type of clock.  I know that my grandpa is taking care of my clock for me.  Maybe it’s his way of letting me know that he is still around and checking in on me.  I kind of like knowing that he has been here,  and that I have someone watching over me.  I have always enjoyed my alone time,  but I also like knowing that I am never really alone.  So,  I am adding to this post,  the song that my grandfather liked,  and my grandmother used to sing,  back in the day.  Maybe I will play it,  and then wind my clock just enough to get it off kilter again,  and then wait for it to sync up!

24. It’s All About The Journey

This blog post is dedicated to my Facebook friend, and ALS warrior, Tammy.  May you be joyful as you continue on your journey,  no matter where it takes you.

 

Last month,  my husband and I traveled West in our new(ish)  RV.  We made a stop in Missouri,  then on one side of Kansas,  then the other side of Kansas,  then Colorado,  and finally,  New Mexico.  Then back home through Texas,  Oklahoma,  Missouri, and finally arriving in Indiana.  It was an adventure.  It was our first trip in the RV,  being the second owners,  so we found things we wanted to change,  and a few things we have to fix.  We had a travel trailer years ago,  so it was not all totally new to us,  but it was all new to our 95+lb., five year old Lab mix dog who we took with us.  He adjusted fairly well,  and loved his new bed,  and all the vacation food,  but  he preferred to squeeze into the 12 inch space beside the bed to sleep,  instead of his spacious  and comfy bed.  It was quite a sight.

We probably should have taken a shorter trip for the first trip out.  That way we wouldn’t have been clear across the country when we realized that we needed to order a new converter (don’t ask me what that is,  but apparently it’s very important).  But,  we did have an adventure!  It’s just that adventures aren’t always great,  amazing trips without a single problem.   We had to cut our trip short and come home early.  So our adventure  ended up being more about the journey, and less about the destination.   But,  isn’t that how it should be?   Isn’t that just life?  I had always wanted to visit New Mexico, so that was the end goal.   So many people plan on reaching some sort of goal and they are sure they will find enjoyment in the achievement of that goal,  like a new home,  or retirement.  But,  they end up just working themselves  into a serious illness,  or to death trying to achieve their goals,  planning to be happy one day in the future,   instead of just enjoying the journey and finding happiness in the every day.   I used to do the same thing,  until ALS woke me up and made me start paying attention to the journey and not just the destination.  Because you never really get to your destination.  You may achieve a goal,  but then,  don’t you just have another goal to achieve  (hopefully)?  And another?  And another,  and so on and so on, and it never really ends. I would say that even at death,  it is about the journey, because your trip has not ended, but just continues on in another dimension (otherwise known as  Heaven).  We usually refer to death as an ending.  But,  I know that we are really just living somewhere else.  There is no ending,  just the journey.  Many,  many religions believe that you take many journeys through more than one lifetime.  I am apt to believe this,  because how can a person accomplish anything in just one short lifetime?  I have trouble believing that God only gives you between one and one hundred short years to experience life in the vast amount of time of Earth’s existence, but… that’s a whole other blog post!  Do whatever you can to find enjoyment on your journey,  and don’t worry so much about your destination.  Enjoy each and every day.

 

23. Shake It Up

 

A popular song in the 1980’s,  by The Cars. Even if it’s just a song about dancing, it reminds me to shake up my life.  Whether we like it or not, life is all about change and shaking things up.  I was pretty happy with my life, just going along with my routines that are easy to get stuck in,  and necessary when you have children and a job, when BOOM…ALS shook up my life.  One thing about living with ALS, is that it causes constant changes in your life.  You are forced to adapt to the changes with the loss of each and every muscle.  I am still trying to accept that my life is constantly changing.  I am not sure why most of us have so much trouble accepting change.  Maybe because we usually view change as a negative thing.  But even a negative change can bring further positive changes.  If I had not been diagnosed with ALS,  I would have probably never cut back my full time job to working part time, even though that’s what I always wanted to do.   And,  probably never would have quit working all together.  I would have probably never taken so many wonderful vacations with my family either.  We would not have moved into a new house.  I would have never met the same people I have met in the past 19 years.  The list goes on and on

My husband and I recently purchased a new(ish) RV.  Being able to take long trips in the RV  will really shakeup our routine.  My new(ish)  blog really shook things up!  Shake things up, even if it’s in a small way.  I recently started spending more of my days sitting on my chaise in the family room using my iPhone, rather than sitting in my wheelchair in the computer room using my computer.  That small change has made my body more comfortable, given me a better view of the outdoors,  so I can spend more time bird watching and less time surfing the internet.   Do whatever you can to shake things up,  and learn to accept change and view it as a good thing.