Sunday, July 24, 2011

Totally Distracted and Running from Reality

He lives life on the edge. Alcohol-fueled, party-going, fascinated with flirtation, his focus is on the fun-filled and the frivolous. Reality is too painful. But the inevitable consequence of living the fast life, the hard life, is that it easily leads to a short, empty life.

She buries herself in the details of retirement. She has a schedule filled with healthy activities, connecting with old friends and keeping her time fully occupied. She diverts any discussion away from the harsh diagnosis, the undeniable movement into a future that offers limitations, disability or worse.

They both have Parkinson's disease. They are both addicted to distraction.

This is a struggle we all face. Who among us has not sought to escape, if only momentarily, from the reality that would otherwise confront and overwhelm us? Who has not from time to time succumbed to meaningless and mundane media in order to avoid the seemingly crushing concerns that surround us?

It may be Parkinson's disease, cancer, deafness, arthritis or just pain that doctors have not been able to explain. It may be poverty, persecution, unemployment or simply loneliness. Reality may be filled with deflated dreams, failure or helplessness. To some degree we all live in a reality that compels us to search out diversions. It is easy to become an addict.
Some addictions are too seriously debilitating distractions while others are to relatively playful pastimes, at least initially. Some who crave distraction inhale/snort/shoot drugs that demonize. Others find food their favorite fetish. Some gamble for gain and excitement. Some smoke to take the edge off. Some drink to sleep more easily. Television, newspapers, Ipods and video games, they all can become the objects of our addiction to distraction.

So what is the reality you are trying to escape, deny or avoid? Mine is easy. I do not want to think about my Parkinsonian tremor that makes it difficult to keep my vehicle's gas pedal steady or hold a cup of coffee in my right hand. It can be downright depressing to think of the future, trapped in a body that will not stop moving, dependent on drugs to make it through the day. As scary as it may be sometimes, it is still a reality to be dealt with. I ignore it at my peril. And for me, distractions are a form of running away, a dangerous dance with denial.
The fact is, I have Parkinson's disease. Ignoring it, running away from it or hiding from it will not change that reality. The more I am distracted the less I deal with its reality. But despite how society has entranced me with distractions, I have a choice.

I am learning.

Reality is better than fakery; harder, but better.

Distractions are seductive, promising freedom from reality, but delivering slavery.

One's ability to come to grips with reality depends on one’s ability to defeat the addiction of distractions.

True resting, recreation and relaxing, even retreating, prepare one for reality. Distractions leave one longing to escape.

Life is too precious, too short and too important to spend it distracted.
It is time to deal with the real world. It is time to diminish distractions.

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