Getting Older is Better than the Alternative…

Yes… It annoyed me to be told ten years ago, in my late fifties, that I had RRMS. It annoyed me when I was told the ‘treatment‘ was a self-injection. It annoyed me that, for my lifestyle, the every night injection would be the ‘best’ of the four. It annoyed me to have to retire four years earlier than I’d planned, due to cognitive issues caused by MS. It annoyed me that my pension was somewhat lessened by those lost years. I hadn’t planned on that.

And I get annoyed with myself when I’m on the telephone and suddenly can’t remember who I’m talking to, or whether I made or received the phone call, or what the topic of conversation is, or was. I get annoyed with myself when I wake in the morning and am not sure whether it is summer or winter, spring or fall until I look out the window. I get annoyed with myself when I forget everyone’s name despite trying very hard to remember them. I get annoyed when I confuse the calendar and book two appointments for the same day.

I’m easily annoyed by things that I don’t expect, like a loud truck, or a person coming around a corner, or thunder and lightning on a hot summer’s day. I’m often annoyed by television commercials that come on louder than the program I am watching, or commercials that are advertising prescription drugs with death as a possible side effect. And I’m most annoyed when even the weather report is introduced with loud music and brightly colored graphics that proclaim “breaking news!” And I’m hopelessly annoyed by the choice of music that accompanies the sad details of news stories covering tragedies.

I wasn’t always like this. When I was working, people often complimented me on my patience, on my optimism, on my kindness and compassion for others. But then came the diagnosis, and the annoyances it brought to my life.

But I’m slowly moving away from these annoyances, in a sense. Oh, I can’t make them go away, but I can go away from them. I rarely answer the telephone, and I cut most conversations short, particularly the political surveys and such. I have a new business of my own, and the central objective on my business plan is the word “HAPPY.” All of my activity, my thoughts, my efforts and my individual goals are aimed toward achieving a state of happiness, in an atmosphere of peace, acceptance and comfort. I have a small quilt shop, and I meet the most delightful people in that setting. I include their happiness in my goals. I benefit from their appreciation and smiles. I strive to stock what they want to find in the shop.

Getting older is better than the alternative; some believe that life ends with a judgement toward Heaven or Hell; others believe that life ends and a reincarnated life begins anew. I can look back on what I’ve accomplished in my life, both before and after the diagnosis, and be content with all of it. I wouldn’t for a second want to begin life again in another setting, with another group of people, as another person. I’m happy in reflecting of who I have become and whom I am with at this point … Other than the misery of the diagnostic year, I wouldn’t choose to change a thing.

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