“You have to expect things of yourself before you can do them.” Michael Jordan
“It is not the mountain we conquer, but ourselves.” Edmund Hillary
Précis: Six years ago today, on March 9, 2015, I started the Journey with Parkinson’s blog with a post entitled “I’m Still Here: Life with Parkinson’s.” This also signifies that I had received my diagnosis of Parkinson’s one year earlier from my Neurologist (although we had been searching for what was going on with my health for several years before this).
Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try Again. Fail again. Fail better.” Samuel Beckett
Life’s Challenges: Working so much at home recently, the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic large-and-wide, felt everywhere, and recuperating through some old injuries, I need some motivation. I write these blog posts for you, but I also write them as a sounding board for my thoughts and feelings. Occasionally, I will look back on what I’ve written and use it as a barometer to how I’m feeling/thinking/reacting now at the present moment.
“Never mind what others do; do better than yourself, beat your own record from day to day, and you are a success.” William J. H. Boetcker
Motivation: The present moment I use as motivation to work through some ‘stuff’ and to remind myself, it will get better. But you need not be apathetic; you need not be feeling down; it is all part of the ebb and flow of life and its cycles. Spring is on the horizon, and that means summer is ahead as well. The season of renewal and then heat and sunshine.
“Nothing is impossible, the word itself says ‘I’m possible’!” Audrey Hepburn
Life’s Compass: I played golf yesterday with some new people that I had never met before. As usual, on a golf course, the conversation goes back and forth, but the key is always to play golf and support everyone else’s good golf shots and support them nevertheless when golf shots go awry. Conversation flows from these golf shots. I asked one of my new golf buddies if he was retired or still working? He began by telling me that he was retiring this summer at 60 yo. I asked why. He said they had bought his father a golf club membership when he retired at 66 yo, but he was diagnosed with Parkinson’s that same year and never had many opportunities to enjoy retirement.
By contrast, he wanted that time to enjoy his retirement. I said that sounded like a good plan. I was going through a phased-retirement plan, and it was partly because I, too, have Parkinson’s. He looked over to me and at first said I’m sorry. And then he said he had noticed none of the telltale signs of Parkinson’s at all during our golf game. I sincerely said thank you. I told him that I work hard to manage my symptoms; I try to exercise regularly, manage stress, and be mindful. It made me smile but also made me reflect on the last six years.
“Nothing is an obstacle unless you say it is.” Wally Amos
Reflections: When I start to think, I frequently start to write. Or I go back and re-read something that I’ve already written down. And this time of reflection had me re-reading some thoughts from last year:
•“It is no fun living with Parkinson’s. However, as long as I have breath in my lungs and blood in my veins, I will start each day with renewed persistence to take on my disorder.” Frank C. Church
•“Challenging times lead to challenging decisions. Embrace the challenge and trust your instincts to make the best decision.” Frank C. Church
•“The current moment was a gift to you. Your life is composed of many such moments. Be mindful of this time. Enjoy it. Embrace it. Live it fully.” Frank C. Church
•“We cannot lose hope. We must try to remain positive and live each day with this disorder.” Frank C. Church
•“The little nagging pain when you stretch in the morning combined with those increasingly common age-related ego-bruising body-injuries. Take care of your body at the same time; live your life being positive, strong, and always caring for others.” Frank C. Church
“We all have dreams. But in order to make dreams come into reality, it takes an awful lot of determination, dedication, self-discipline, and effort.” Jesse Owens
Motivation from Others: If you have read any of my posts before, you know by now I like quotes and comments from other people. They move, motivate, and inspire me. Here are a few quotes that I needed during this time for motivation.
“Don’t talk about the way you are. Talk about the way you want to be.” Joel Osteen
Reflection Leads to Reaction: Writing and reading through this post has been beneficial to my reactive thoughts. It made me mindful of what’s happened, aware of what is in my present time, and since the future has not occurred, there is no need to go there. And it reminds me that when you think, it’s your mind assessing your life’s present state; the reflection of your life is processing these feelings. And sometimes, we overreact, sometimes, we go too fast. Life moves at life’s pace regardless of what we try to do otherwise.
“Some people say I have attitude – maybe I do… but I think you have to. You have to believe in yourself when no one else does – that makes you a winner right there.” Venus Williams
The Significance of an Anniversary: It started as an experiment six years ago. When I look back to the original goals I expressed in my opening blog post, I have (mostly) stayed the course on what I was committing to doing:
1. Educate by presenting and defining Parkinson’s.
2. Highlight recent scientific advances in Parkinson’s research.
3. Describe new medical advances, clinical trials, and novel strategies [both traditional and complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) approaches] for dealing with Parkinson’s.
4. Present the details of my Parkinson’s and my effort in dealing with the disorder.
Having thought about it, I am proud of the effort, happy with the response the blog has received, and most thankful that I can be of service to anyone looking for an answer or searching for an explanation, and anyone else seeking support. I am most happy to be here and look forward to the next six years of writing.
“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition.” Steve Jobs