“Stop measuring days by degree of productivity and start experiencing them by degree of presence.” Alan Watts
“It’s so much easier to measure life in experience points.” Felicia Day
Introduction: How do we value ourselves to society, work colleagues, neighbors, and our loved ones and family? We each have some sort of ‘value’ that others do recognize. Internally, we probably have our own ‘value system’ about what our lives are worth to others. I think Coach John Wooden had it right when he said, “Don’t measure yourself by what you have accomplished, but by what you should have accomplished with your ability.” So how do we measure up?
“In all human affairs there are efforts, and there are results, and the strength of the effort is the measure of the result.” James Allen
North Carolina (NC) and South Carolina (SC) State Mottos: The state motto for NC is “Esse quam videri.” When translated from Latin, it gives, “To be, rather than to seem.” This would say in translation that you need ‘to walk the walk and talk the talk.’ Interestingly, the State of South Carolina has two mottos, but usually, we mention only this one: in Latin, it is “Dum spiro spero” which translates to “While I breathe, I hope.” This blog post is really not about why all of our states have mottos. Instead, having read these two mottos, I really like to think about them as they relate to the measure of my day in the presence of Parkinson’s. Specifically, am I active and not just thinking about it, and am I always hopeful with every breath I take?
“Be miserable. Or motivate yourself. Whatever has to be done, it’s always your choice.” Wayne Dyer
Lesson Learned: I ponder [Definition of pondering- someone who thinks about (something) carefully, especially before making a decision or reaching a conclusion.]. Having been a research scientist and in academics for my career, it makes sense that pondering is one way to describe me. When I talk about my research and teaching career for the past 40 years, I can simply say my job made me happy. What makes each of us happy and successful likely differ significantly from one another. Albert Schweitzer summarized this so well when he said, “Success is not the key to happiness. Happiness is the key to success. If you love what you are doing, you will be successful.”
What I have learned with Parkinson’s is that it limits my day. While working, which now is my scholarship (of Parkinson’s and STEMM education ) and teaching, it still totally exhilarates me, although I am just tired after many hours of work. On top of this, when I factor in planning, researching, and writing blog posts, my mind is mush. Make time to exercise, spend time with loved ones, the day moves into evening hours, I am just finished. My lesson learned is that Parkinson’s is constantly tugging its way to pull me and slow me down. I get that now.
My current plan balances it all with the intent not to get exhausted, keep going when I get tired, but switch gears and keep breathing, keep going but fresh again. Consequently, the path to succeed against the scourge named Parkinson’s is to balance life, exercise, and work.
“Success is liking yourself, liking what you do, and liking how you do it.” Maya Angelou
Measuring the Worth of a Day: Where are my meandering thoughts leading to in this blog post? If I had not been diagnosed with Parkinson’s, this blog would not exist, my peer-reviewed papers on Parkinson’s would never have been published.
My blessing, my opportunity, my words exist solely due to this disorder we call Parkinson’s. Since my diagnosis, I have met the most remarkable, dynamic, resourceful, resilient, and wonderful/beautiful people.
Your own diagnosis unites us and yields a bond of strength. And through it, all is a sense of hope. You each have had such a huge positive impact on my life.
My one voice now is committed to trying to stay positive, focused on education about Parkinson’s, and by writing stories that attempt to encase us using the power of persistence all the while remaining hopeful. In this way is how I measure the worth of my day.
“You measure success by how much good you do for others.” Zig Ziglar
The Collective Worth of a Day: Life is not easy with the burden of Parkinson’s. Remember the words of Booker T. Washington, “I have learned that success is to be measured not so much by the position that one has reached in life as by the obstacles which he has had to overcome while trying to succeed.” We do succeed, all of us.
Many different bloggers are writing about their life in the presence of Parkinson’s. There is such wisdom and treasure in each writer; it amazes me your worth to us all.
There are many different organizations and societies committed to curing Parkinson’s and educating us all. They are all worthy of our support.
There are those at the forefront of our direct care, our healthcare providers, and their team. They work hard to keep us healthy.
There are the Care Partners who help us through each day; their goal is focused on each of us. Their selfless commitment can never be replaced.
“Successful and unsuccessful people do not vary greatly in their abilities. They vary in their desires to reach their potential.” John C. Maxwell
United as a Team Against Parkinson’s: Maybe the old athlete in me thinks of all of us as a team. And we are all teammates, all over the world, united against Parkinson’s. So, in reality, we are all doing a lot, staying the course individually. Keep working for a positive and hopeful future while living in the presence of Parkinson’s. In the end, we all measure up. Go, Team!
“The only true measure of success is the ratio between what we might have done and what we might have been on the one hand, and the thing we have made and the things we have made of ourselves on the other.” H. G. Wells
“Each of us will one day be judged by our standard of life, not by our standard of living; by our measure of giving, not by our measure of wealth; by our simple goodness, not by our seeming greatness.” William Arthur Ward