Friday, 7 March 2014

No Other Life But This

I was up late last night, not going to bed until nearly midnight. I was out playing "Name That Tune" at a local pub; the game ends at about 11:00 PM and I usually sit for a bit with friends and chat afterwards. Then, when I got home, I sat up and chatted with Jim for a few minutes, planning the work of today and talking about his hobby, working with electronic circuits. Jim has loved electricity and electronics since he was a small child. I can remember pictures he would draw where all the people were in proportion but the electrical plugs and outlets, drawn in great detail, would be massively sized and out of proportion to anything else on the page.

The price of staying up late is exhaustion in the morning. This would not normally be a problem; I would simply sleep until late in the morning, the same way Jimmy does. Unfortunately the tile crew is coming yet again this morning, hopefully for the last time, to finish up the tile in my bathroom. The downside of this early arrival is that I must get up earlier; the upside is that, once the day is done, I should finally have a toilet and tomorrow I will actually have a shower, assuming the plumber arrives later today as planned, something of which there is no guarantee and history makes doubtful.

A couple of days ago I received one of the nicest compliments I have had in a long time. Someone said that I had an excellent balance between realism and optimism. I've thought about what this means for a couple of days now, and I would have to agree. I am very realistic about ALS, what it is and will do to me, and what my choices are in the face of this disease. I am very optimistic in the way I live, squeezing every bit possible out of every day, even when I am in the midst of struggles with this monster.

There has to be a balance. It is what keeps me going in the face of the certainty of the outcome. It is what makes me comfortable with what will happen along the way. I get up each day, exhausted or not, and live it. Some days are better than others. Some days I start tired and every day is a race to sleep. Yet in the end, I get to live another day. I am going to live until I die; I might as well live before I die. I control neither disease nor duration; my life is what I can do today, how I can live now. What will come will come, regardless.

As Henry David Thoreau said "You must live in the present, launch yourself on every wave, find your eternity in each moment. Fools stand on their islands of opportunity and look toward another land. There is no other land; there is no other life but this."


  1. I remember Jim's outsize electrical outlets drawings. It sure was a picture into his child's mind. Amazing stuff.
    As for balance you sure do keep your life in balance between the physical and the psychological.

  2. I loved the blog, as usual.The style writing you have paints mind pictures for me. I can shut my eyes, and can see the wind the waves, the tilers banging and chipping away the excess cement. As for my philosophy, I do believe in "pie in the sky, by and by", but I also brlieve in "cake on your plate while you wait",and Im going to live each and every day to its fullest. Taking all I can take, but also ppaying it forward to others. One of my favorite slogans of the AA program, of which Im Not a member, is " Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery,today is the present, that is why we call it a gift". A gift, unopened and unused is a waste.
    You have chosen to pay it forward with your blog which , as your friend says, is a great blend of realism and optimism. As you have said in your blog, "we are all going to die sometime."