Saturday, 8 July 2017

Living With Less

It's a tough ride sometimes. I've lost a lot because of ALS. I've lost mobility. I've lost independence. I've lost strength, muscles. I've lost income. I've lost financial ability. I've lost emotional control more than once. There is only one way to deal with all of these losses. I am learning to live with less, making the most of what I still have, preparing for the losses yet to come.

It's an interesting thing, learning to live with less. It doesn't always mean living poorly, nor does it always mean a miserly existence. I live with less, there is no doubt about it. Yet I eat well, I drink well, I still get about, I still have people over. What living with less means for me is not having all the things, or abilities, I had in the past.

Living with less has been forced upon me by ALS. Some of the "less" in my life is obvious. Less walking, less mobility, less choice, less access. Some of it is not in the least visible. I live with a less positive view of myself and my body, struggling with my physical limitations and form. I live with less spontaneity, once the hallmark of my life, now almost completely gone. I live with less affection and human contact, although some might argue that this might be true without ALS. I don't know, because I live with less certainty about things.

Oddly enough, living with less in the physical realm is one of the least of my problems. Thanks to some lucky breaks I still have a bit of money left to travel or to buy something special. When that ends, as it has in the past, I know that others will still help me. Living in an apartment instead of a house with a garage and workshop, something I had looked forward to in my retirement years, is not all that bad.

Over the next while I will once again be reducing the contents of my closets. I don't wear suits anymore. I don't need ties. Well, perhaps one. I doubt that I will ever wear my kilt and jacket again, but I need to be sure that my son doesn't want it before I get rid of it. There are all kinds of other odds and ends I can dispose of, minimizing my life, my world footprint.

Living with less, whether forced upon me or not, is not such a bad thing. I am finding happiness in what I have left, in all areas of my life. I cannot defeat ALS, nor what it will do to me. What I can do is live in the moment, living with what I have, giving due regret to what I have lost, moving forward each day. I may be living with less, but I am also living more.

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