Diverse Abilities; Infinite Possibilities. Defy Disability and Design Life.
This I Believe
I live an interesting life. Some years back I ran a marathon – 26.2 miles– in 3.5 hours. Five years ago I could run a mile in 8 minutes and I could do 5 of those miles without rest. Last week I participated in a competitive race. My wheelchair and I entered the one-mile division. It took us much more than an hour to finish. The races I used to run were a solo event. My recent race was a team effort, as I carried with me the love and encouragement of so many good folks. The experience was exhilarating and the finish was ecstatic I live an interesting life.
Living with a physical disability is a new experience for me. My legs are partially paralyzed. I have multiple sclerosis. It is incurable. Each day I am surprised that this disability has taken up residence in my body in such an obvious manner. I no longer have the leisure of being anonymous, blending in with a crowd, mingling privately with the masses. The responses I receive from people are as varied as my own reactions to this experience. Occasionally I see disdain, which is a reflection of one’s stereotypes of differences; sometimes I see fear, which is fear of one’s own vulnerability. Frequently I see curiosity and I appreciate questions more than silent speculation. Most often I see authentic interest in how someone can be of assistance to me, and during those moments I see, and experience, the gift of others’ pure personal goodness. This is a bright blessing. I live an interesting life
I live a flexible, fluid, ever-changing life. My ten-year, five-year, one-year rigid professional plans and personal strivings have been replaced by shorter term, gentler goals and with larger life desires and interests that reflect the journey of my heart. Goals in learning life lessons that are new. Desires such as redefining physical and emotional health and personal potential.. I live a flexible, fluid, ever-changing and interesting life
I live a kaleidoscopic life. There are many hues and shades and levels and layers in my daily life. I see those in others. Life, for me, was once black and white, absolute and rules-bound. Those things provided structure and predictability. They did not provide the guarantees I assumed I deserve. Though I live with fear of the unknown I also live with gustiness and grittiness, with confidence and resiliency, with conviction toward living fully each and every day . I live a kaleidoscopic and interesting life
I live a topsy-turvy, upside down, inside-out life. Things I once knew to be true, such as effortless mobility and sunrise jogs, have long disappeared. I negotiate daily with my body. I challenge my attitude. I urge my soul to be tenacious and coax my spirit to be persistent
I live a public life though I am a private person. I have the gift of personal initiative and the good fortune of family, friends, colleagues and community. They believe in me, keep me buoyant and provide perspective and support. My passion is directed toward being a voice for folks who are too often minimalized and marginalized. I know my life serves as an example for others, so I am told. This is an honor, a reluctant one but an honor nonetheless.
I live a charmed life. This is true. Though I did not choose this new situation I do choose my responses. I choose, daily, to Live. In my life, now, I learn things I would never have known, meet people I would have missed, savor experiences I once breezed right through and see sights I often sped right by. I am living with a wide-eyed gaze and a sense of curiosity. I live a charmed and interesting life.
You live an interesting life, an unusual, unique life that is of your own design. Though there are differences, our lives all have commonalities and interconnectedness. Each day I know absolutely that each and all of us live lives that matter. There is tremendous pay-off in recognizing one’s gifts and talents, and in sharing your life with others. I live an interesting life. Each one of you does too.
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