Friday, October 31, 2014

Wanted: Extended Life, with a Side of Laughter

I started my blog in 2008 with great trepidation.  Doing research on the pit falls of writing online, I came across a very funny essay entitled “How to Dissuade Yourself from Writing a Blog”.  It pretty much assured you that what you would write would be utter drek that no one would ever read.  Or, if through some miracle they actually found your blog, they would laugh themselves sick at your ineptitude.  Naturally, I believed I would be an exception to these rules.  So I took the plunge.

At first I was focused on losing weight for my son’s upcoming wedding.  So I wrote about swimming at the local health club and what I ate for breakfast.  Riveting stuff, right?  The words were stilted and formal, dull as dishwater.  Painful to read now, especially since because of immobility and medications I have gained about another zillion pounds.  Then I fell and broke my shoulder.  It was the kind of injury that simply consumes you.  So that is what I started writing about.  The craziness of the fall, the insanity of trying to obtain the care I needed, it all just poured out.  And it poured out in my own way, almost a sort of stream of consciousness.  My readership jumped by over 100.  A friend once gave me the most incredible, touching compliment.  We hadn’t seen each other in ages.  After chatting for the first time in over a year, as we said goodbye I said to her “It has been so good to hear your voice!”  She replied “I hear yours every time I read your blog.”   I could not have asked for higher praise and affirmation.

I began to think in Blogese.  Everything was potential fodder for my posts.   I was lucky enough to be able to attend two separate blogging conferences, great opportunities to network and keep up enthusiasm.  Always on the lookout for potential content, I composed posts in my head all the time.   My motto was one that I had seen on a novelty t-shirt:  “I am SO bogging this!”  Although it was never, ever my intention to exact revenge on people who had treated me poorly.  Well, except perhaps when I was laid off by those incompetent nitwits (long story, read about it here ).   Writing about negative experiences in my own life could possibly be perceived as resentful and/or vengeful, but, again, it was not my plan to deliberately hurt anyone.  The stories of our lives reflect ups but also downs.  Unfortunately, writing about painful incidences can have the appearance of good guy (me) vs. bad guy (them).  I have tried very hard to take ownership for my actions and life choices, to acknowledge when I have been an ass or totally wrong.  I have also tried to be fair to those who have hurt me, working very hard to present a balanced picture, as no one is purely good or bad.  And I have worked hard at understanding and presenting what I have perceived as their motivation. However, for the most part I tried to put a lighthearted spin on my incredibly eventful life, as there are few things I enjoy more than making people laugh.   And while I love to laugh, I didn’t realize quite the impact I had made in that department.

My darling friend Christine recently hosted a small, informal get together to honor my 60th birthday.  She put a journal on the table and asked people to write comments in it, either a note on how we had met or a fond memory.  As I read through this treasure afterwards, one thing jumped out at me.  Nearly every single person stated one thing they loved about me was how I made them laugh.   I was amazed and touched.   And saddened.  Because I simply don’t feel very funny anymore. Having been virtually housebound and isolated for the past two years, I find it harder and harder to hold a lucid conversation, never mind be funny.  It was hard to laugh at MS.  It is even harder to laugh at metastatic cancer.   Being aware that MS had the very real potential of significantly shortening my life was painful enough.  But having cancer that cannot be cured is devastating. 

I was stunned to note I have written fewer than ten posts this year, opposed to an average of over 50 a year in the past.   But writing is what I am meant to do, a need rather than a want.  Despite some recent criticism by people I love, I have to keep on writing.  Not only is it good for me as an expression of what I am, I get feedback from people, publicly and privately, who tell me how much my words mean to them.  I have to believe that is one of the reasons I am here, one of the ways I can make a difference.   

I am trying hard to live my remaining life to the fullest.  I pray constantly for dignity, courage and, if possible, duration.  I pray for discernment of what meaning my life was intended to take.  I have finally obtained my new power wheelchair.  Now I have to figure out how to get out more.  I want to volunteer where I can.  I want to create a charitable foundation to provide opportunities for people who have encountered crises, to help them over humps the way so many have helped me.   I want to give back, to have a positive impact on this world.  And I want, no, I need, laughter to be part of my life again.



 Did you like what you read? Let others know. Thanks!