Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Life in the moment...

Contrary to popular belief, living in the moment isn't all it's cracked up to be. There's the old parable of the ant and the grasshopper. The grasshopper played all summer while the ant worked. Come winter, the ant had food stores and the grasshopper was screwed. Or as my Uncle George puts it: "Planning for the future gives relevance to work done in the present."

I am forced to think moment to moment with my pain. It's just too unpredictable. I don't know how I'm going to feel in the next hour let alone next week. Early on, I learned very quickly that this is a very isolating way to live. People like reliability, predictability. Most people don't like changing plans at a moment's notice. In more equatorial cultures, this is different. The United States, however, runs on a tight schedule.

Living in the moment has gotten me into some really bad habits, too. I don't know what my body's needs are going to be from one week to the next, and that's really difficult to budget. It may be 'damn the costs' to get through right now so there will be a tomorrow. I'll deal with the future when it gets here. But that's a dangerous way to live especially when money is tight. I still have to eat at the end of the month, not just the beginning.

Because of this, I can't afford to not know where my money is going. But facing finances can be terrifying especially because I'm often forced into acting badly out of financial need. Can't get blood out a turnip, so yeah... My credit rating is laughable.

Was I that way before? Heck no! I had paid off my credit cards, was paying more than I owed on my student loans, was paying my car loan on time, had an IRA and was running my own business. Oh how the mighty have fallen!

What surprised me was how forgiving landlords were of medical debt. Apparently it's too common to hold it against people. That's scary.

But for now, physical, mental or emotional reasons can force me into living in the moment. And that doesn't mesh well with a scheduled world. I do my best, of course, but I know my limits. Yelling at a rose doesn't make it bloom, either.

I'm lucky. Today I have friends who will try to connect with me even through the bad times, and they help me lavish in the good. They're not pushy, and I never have to explain myself. I've been in places where I didn't have that, so I don't take them for granted.

I've also worked hard with my relationships with my doctors where many have outright waived their 24-hour cancellation notice for me. I can go from fine to incapacitated in 15 minutes. I'm honest about it and I don't abuse the privilege.

I'm learning now, though, that I need to get stricter with my awareness of the passage of time. It's too easy for days and weeks to bleed together. My memory, or at least my ability to access it, is one of my fallen soldiers in this disease. Blogging, as you may have guessed, is extremely useful for keeping track of my mind. It was excellent for keeping track of symptoms and research. Having folks as cheerleaders was awesome to say the least.

As my disease dictates it, I live in the moment. But order has always fought chaos. I can use whatever tricks I need (legally, of course) to try and maintain what order I can. I try to keep the, "ooo...I kinda had a feeling that was a bad idea" moments to a minimum. Every once in a while (centennial reunion, etc.), to me it's worth a little risk. I pay, and hopefully not dearly. But there are always costs: seen and unseen.

Live in the moment? Not unless I have to, thank you. It can be a nice vacation, but it's not a place for me to live.

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