I wasn't watching the Academy Awards last night, I have spent several years covering them, when I worked for the media corporation I worked for, doing research on the movers and shakers, and I just wasn't interested. That, and I must confess, I still haven't see "Avatar" or any of the other movies up this year.
I was channel surfing and came across a gentleman on a news station, talking about positive attitude. I must confess I had never heard of this man before, his name is Wayne Dyer and he was talking about keeping and maintaining a positive attitude. But I was struck by two things. He was in his sixties or early seventies and looked about forty. And he made a comment that he was diagnosed as having leukemia, and he still manages to swim every day, walk every day and do everything he use to do. It wasn't going to let him slow him down.
What ever he is doing, he must be doing right, I thought, snuggling on the couch, sleepy cat by my side. I grabbed the remote to make the show louder, much to the feline's consternation. I have committed the horrible cat sin- I woke up a sleeping cat. I guess my mea culpa will be a tin of Fancy Feast when she wakes again.
But I realized, as I woke the cat and grabbed the remote, it wasn't going to let him slow down. Now I can rationalize and think- well, the dude's is older, he's lived 20 or 30 years longer than me. That's silly thinking. Then it occured to me- maybe Nietzche was right, "that that doesn't destroy me will make me stronger".
One of things I noticed when I first got sober was this. How good orange juice tasted without Vodka or Everclear in it. When I had my first glass of OJ, two days after experiencing a hellish withdrawal from said Everclear- I couldn't get enough. Like one of Dickens' orphans, I asked for more. Indeed, it was the best thing I have ever tasted.
When I first got sober, I took pleasure in everything. Every sunrise and sunset. Every star in the sky. Everything my first kitty did. I walked, got my body back in shape because it had been so damaged by the Vodka and Everclear, cooked healthy meals, lost 35 pounds, and a year later, got a job at the best company I have ever worked for. I faced my demons about traveling alone, and toured England, my life long dream, on my own. And did fine. I stayed busy by a part time job in a book store, reading books to inner city children, and doing my own writing, which started to take off. It wasn't perfect, but it was good. I was grateful for every day.
Eventually, after the years passed, sobriety was no longer hard work anymore, I got complacent. I realize that now. I got disgusted with office politics, something I could never figure out how to play. Disenchanted with the whole dating scene, kissing so many frogs and never a prince. Sad from the psychiatric meds, and the whole going to the p-doc and t-doc thing. I was really unhappy, something that leaked right down into my soul. I know that now.
It was perhaps this unhappiness that started to destroy me, to make me walk to the other side, the dark side. I didn't want to live anymore, I took no pleasure in anything. No pleasure in sunrises and sunsets, staring at the stars, or beautiful days to walk in. I just saw unending days that were all the same, and my life being stuck in a rut and unable to get out, much as I feel like again at present.
Cut back to last night. Watching this man on TV, talking about recovery, dealing with leukemia, and not letting the bastards get him down, I actually started to think- this man might know something. I am about a year away from full blown leukemia- according to the oncologist I have seen. It most likely is a side effect from over a score of taking lithium. While I realize it's no longer the death sentence it was 40 years ago, I still am upset. Maybe I shouldn't be.
Maybe it's time to really get off the pity pot. The longer you live in life, the more experiences you will face. Good, bad and ugly. Bad things happen to good people. It's part of life. It's not a pleasant thing for me to know. But I cannot change this, just as much as I cannot change the fact I pay taxes, or will never be 5' 2".
One of the things I got when I first got sober was a little mirrored plaque with the Serenity Prayer. It eventually shattered, no doubt from a gust of wind from an opened window, or a cat playing with a catnip mouse. I need to start following the Serenity Prayer again. I cannot change the fact that my brain and my body isn't what it should be. They never will be again. But that shouldn't stop me from smelling the roses. Well, the daffodils are blooming soon, and they, along with white roses, are my favorite flowers.