30. Half A Stick Of Gum Is All You Need

Half of a stick of gum is all you need.  When I was a kid,  whenever I visited my grandparents, to keep us occupied during church, my grandmother would give my sister and I a piece of gum.  But, only one half of a stick of gum.  Even for a kid, that’s not much.  That’s plenty, she would say. 

I have found that there are a lot of things,  like that half stick of gum, that  I was used to having which, I have realized I can get by without.  I found out,  with ALS,  that it’s amazing how much muscle you can lose,  and still live a somewhat normal life.  I was walking around,  doing everything I always did for years with a great deal of muscle loss.  I got by with much less than I thought I needed.

I had one of the original big bulky bag cell phones,  back in the day.  I had it mainly to use in case there were an emergency,  like if my car quit,  because I drove 40 minutes to and and from work everyday.   So, after I had to quit working due to my health issues, I just never got another phone.  I  went for years without having or using one.  Which means I had also never texted, other than from a computer. And, I lived to tell the story!  I found I could survive without one.  I finally got a new cell phone last year,  after  15+ years without one. 

I could never have imagined sitting in one spot and not moving for an hour or even two hours before ALS.  Sure, we all say, “I wish I could just sit and do nothing!”  What we really mean is we wish we didn’t  have to go to work, or do any of our daily chores, but moving about would still be an option.  What about when moving isn’t an option?  I’ve found it really is possible  to sit and literally not move,  without going totally crazy.  Even a couple of years ago,  I was used to  asking one of my daughters help move my leg or arm after an hour of not moving.  But, when that was no longer an option, I found I could survive moving  less often than I had thought.

I used to always be on the go.  Now,  leaving the house numerous times every day is just a distant memory.  I could never have imagined staying in for days, let alone weeks at a time without leaving the house.  Now that seems totally normal,  and rarely bothers me at all.  It helps that most of those periods of time occur during the winter, when just the thought of the cold Indiana weather is enough to make my body ache,  and all I want to do is stay in and stay warm.   I have experienced cabin fever first hand, but I’ve also learned that you really don’t need to leave the house everyday, every week, or even every month to be content.  

We all find ourselves thinking about the things we think we need.  The latest model  TV,  or newly released IPhone or IPad.  Whatever it is,  it may be something we want,  but usually we can definitely do just fine without it.  I’m glad I learned early on,  that you don’t always need as much of something as you think you do to be happy.  Sometimes half a stick of gum really is plenty.



18. Use The Good China


My mother has a set of china in her china cabinet that I don’t ever remember her using.   I’m sure she must have used it at some point, but I don’t remember ever seeing it out of the cabinet. We all seem to want to save things for a special occasion. But, I guess nothing ever seems special enough. Or maybe we just forget we have that good china because we never use it.

I have a set of real silver flatware that my grandmother gave me years ago.  I use it at every birthday party and every holiday dinner.  I don’t think I own any item that I wouldn’t use,  aside from my great grandfather’s pipe.  It has been well used, but not by me!

Everyone has something they are waiting to use or waiting to do. Waiting until the kids are grown, or the puppy is housebroken. Waiting until they’ve received that promotion, or until retirement. Waiting for something that may never come, or at least not in the near future.  Why wait?

The same goes for indulging. You don’t order the dessert after dinner, because you feel like you really shouldn’t. You buy the kids each a new pair of shoes, but pass on a pair for yourself. Certainly if you are trying to loose weight, you probably want to skip dessert. Or , if you can’t afford another pair of shoes, don’t buy them. But, treat yourself in some way.  Stop saving, stop waiting! Make an ordinary day special by using the good china, and what the heck, use the good silver too! Take that cruise this year. Don’t wait for retirement. And, open that special bottle of champagne even if you don’t get the promotion. Your life is now!