Wednesday, 6 March 2013

Life Lessons

I've learned a few things in life, some useful and some not so, some practical, some not so. I will not leave behind much of a legacy. It will take all my financial resources to survive the coming years, the remainder of my lifetime. So perhaps the only true legacy I leave is the thoughts and ideas that tumble out in this writing. There are, perhaps, too many for one blog entry, so here are a few. I leave these mostly to my children. If they have not learned these life lessons yet, I hope they do, and I hope they can put them into action in their own lives.

Life isn't fair, but it's still good. My particular situation is perhaps the best example of this. ALS is a terribly unfair disease; I am angry about the unfairness. There is no hope of a cure and it marches relentlessly to life's inevitable conclusion. That doesn't mean my life is bad. In fact, other than this small medical issue, my life is pretty good. I have a great community of friends, terrific family, an interesting and compelling career, and and active lifestyle. I don't have much money yet I seem to have all I need. All in all, my life is pretty good. I just have to remember that when I am angry, depressed or tired.

When in doubt, just take the next small step. This is a truism for me both physically and psychologically. It seems impossible for me to stop; I just keep on keeping on. When things are so big that I cannot go on, I break them down into smaller bits and then I do the first bit first. After that, I do the next. Eventually I end up somewhere; sometimes it isn't where I thought I was going, other times it is exactly where I want to end up. It all starts with the next little thing to be done. So I figure out what it is, and I do it.

Life is too short to wait for tomorrow; enjoy it today. I have really learned about this lately. The stark reality of my situation strikes home on a daily basis. Yet I always seem to find time to have some fun. I love a good party, a room full of friends, good food and great humour. This is how I enjoy life; I thrive in a crowd. Not everyone does; each of us needs to do the things that bring us joy. This is what it means to enjoy life. My greatest pain arises when I lose that humour, that ability to see the joy in things. My life is not the only one that is too short. I'm just focused on mine right now.

Don't compare your life to others. I really struggle with this some days, especially lately. I need to remember that none of us can truly comprehend the life of another person. Each of us experiences life differently. We have differing joys, differing pain, differing priorities, differing perceptions. My life is made no easier by comparing with someone's harder life, nor is it made harder when compared with an easier life. It is what it is, no more, no less. Any comparison is ultimately pointless. So why bother?

Get rid of anything that isn't useful. Clutter weighs you down emotionally and physically. I believe that less is better, in almost everything except love. But then again, love is not clutter. Stuff, junk, things that distract you from the important things in your life; this is clutter. Things will not make your life better. Mostly they just get in the way. Travel light. Live a life unburdened by the unnecessary.

People and emotions clutter your life just as much as things. Some people just make life more confusing. Their own issues, their emotional needs, demands, and challenges create an emotional clutter that crowds out the good things in life. You need to clear out the emotional closets of your life just as much as the physical ones. Just as you would get rid of physical clutter that diminishes your life, be sure you get rid of the emotional clutter. Live a simpler, kinder, gentler life. If your emotional life feels crowded, get rid of the clutter.


  1. Good advice for all of us to follow. I try to keep a distance from negative people and their drama.

  2. And sometimes I am the negative person with the drama, so I have to watch out for it too. :)