Monday, April 4, 2011

"Don't Worry, Be Happy"

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New Mobility Magazine is a topical publication with its main motif being living disabled in the world. One of its columnists, Tiffany Carlson, this month asked questions about people with disabilities, "Why do some hide, while others flourish?" Then she opened the comments with the questions: Depressed because of your disability? How did you overcome it? Is there a trick to learning how to thrive?

I have no business telling anyone how to do anything, but I gave into the impulse to make a list, a free-form list, an unedited one, a list composed from the subconscious without any foundation other than a long career of riding through the world on my fanny.
  1. It's nature/nurture. The right combo of the two allow some of us to cope better than others. 
  2. It's time/smarts. It takes some of us longer to grow intelligent enough to realize that being angry and frustrated won't change the nature and degree of disability. 
  3. It's environment. Some of us are "disabled" by negative thinkers surrounding us, and it's difficult to escape when you cannot run. 
  4. It's force of will. Happiness (or as close as you can get to it) is a matter of choice. 
  5. It's the assuming responsibility for one's own welfare and understanding we live with the consequences of our choices. 
  6. It's living within the possibilities of reality. 
  7. It's the ability to see reality. 
What I found curious is that I woke up this morning thinking about that list. What if disability is dropped from the equation and any other human condition is substituted?  The list still applies, more or less.

All this means, of course -- at least after I put a Zen-spin on the concept -- is that I'm not actually living with a physical disability. I'm simply introverted, passive, and too lazy to change my circumstances.
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