Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Anticipating a Better Tomorrow?

Most people spend their lives looking forward to things. The weekend, a celebration, a new car, a vacation, a promotion and raise, seeing old friends, or just a rest. These are the thoughts that take up residence in the dreams of optimists. Others, of course, wonder who emptied the top half of the glass as they dread the uncertainty of the future. Fears of being alone, losing a job, failing a course, having a flat tire, or just not knowing what the future holds.

Until I was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease, my tomorrows would almost always look better than today. My dreams were lush jungles of adventure filled with certain success and achievement. Fear never did more than stalk the edges of my tomorrows, and then only long enough to face inevitable conquest and banishment. But since my turning point in January 2006, I seem to need a constant parade of new things in the near future to keep me looking forward with a positive attitude. After all, the prevailing direction for those of us facing a degenerative disease such as PD is a slow, in relative terms, spiral downwards. Think about it long enough and the potential future seems filled with tremors increasing until they rival the great San Francisco quake of 1906, stiffness setting in like slow curing concrete, and loss of balance becoming more akin to drunkenness than disease. And that is just the beginning of symptomatic responses to the diminishing supply of dopamine being produced in one's brain. Our future is not typically marked by celebrations with bright colored balloons, streamers and confetti.

So what are you looking forward to? I have discovered that positive anticipation can be a critical weapon in the arsenal to fight the insurgency of Parkinson's disease. The best part is that this is something we can create with a little discipline and planning.
For me, anticipation is an antidote to anxiety about an uncertain future. Often times when I find myself focused on the fear of future disability, I can fight the darkness that would smother me by simply saying to myself, "Yes, I know. But in just a few days/weeks/months I will be...!"

Nothing could be more relevant recently than the need for positive anticipation to offset the sometimes depressing demands of a far too busy schedule. So right now I am anticipating leaving Friday for a two-week motorcycle trip in the northwest United States. Despite the potential for some pain and discomfort from cramped muscles, few things rival the exhilaration of cruising through corners on two wheels with wind, scenery and smells buffeting my body as I lean into the camber of the road to counteract the centrifugal force at play.
Hopefully, this little bit of anticipation will whet your appetite for future postings as you come along with me as I describe (mostly for my own mental picture album) the experiences and (mis)adventures as the Knights of the Open Road ride again.

1 comment:

  1. Ride On and enjoy every minute of it! Seize the day!