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Attitude is a little thing that makes a big difference.~ Winston Churchill

I had another doctor’s appointment today. Another specialist who is referring me to yet another specialist. Some days it seems like an endless road of cobblestones with the all too frequent speed bumps. I know I’m not alone on this journey. Many of my social media contacts seem to have similar paths. I read their updates and laugh/cry with them. I’ve met many of them in person now and am constantly amazed at how much people cope with on a daily basis.

Today my new specialist asked me how I could be so clinical and calm when describing my health. I must have looked weary as well since she asked me how many times I had repeated my history. Truth be known, I’ve lost count. I’ve been ill since 2000 and “chronically” ill since 2010. My life changed. I can’t do some things anymore. I’ve discovered new pursuits to replace the ones I’ve had to cross off. My coping mechanisms are wide in scope since I have so many things to deal with. Yes, I am clinical. It’s actually one of my ways of dealing with the speed bumps.

What I find interesting is how different people look at their circumstances. I have one friend whose battle cry is “Quality over Quantity!” This friend is determined to live a full life, however long it is. I read their updates and find myself hoping it’s a long one. The sheer will to keep getting up day after day, never knowing how beat down you’ll be at the end of the day, is a testament to the strength of the human spirit.

And I know other people who see what I envision as small challenges melt into a hot mess. Their response to a stubbed toe is worthy of an Oscar for Best Acting. Yes, I find myself chuckling and restraining myself from posting something sarcastic. I keep telling myself that I haven’t walked in their shoes and shouldn’t judge. But, really. I have a hard time sympathizing with you over a cold that lasts THREE WHOLE DAYS when I have weeks where I struggle to stay out of the hospital.

Then there are my “in between” friends. They triumph over challenges and quietly mention their latest success. They write about things that bug them and a few days later post about how it’s amazing the way things work out.  I read about their kids and family members and cheer them on. Again, seeing the human spirit in action is an amazing thing.

So what am I talking about in this blog post? Attitude. There’s a whole lot of “not fun” in this world. there’s also a lot of great opportunities. People who get hung up on the “not fun” parts absorb that attitude and, in a way, make their own lives “not fun.” I used to be one of those people. There was a time when I would have stayed in bed all day because of a cold. I’d bemoan my stuffed up nose and feather-filled head. Even in the early years of being ill, I’d do an “oh poor me” schtick for anyone who would listen.

Now, I see things differently. I weigh whether the level of “not fun” is worth doing an activity. I speak up and tell people what activities I can do without experiencing too much “not fun” as a consequence. Ever so slowly, my friends are picking up on my cues. More people are becoming less fearful about including me in activities. I like to think it’s because I’ve put them at ease. That maybe they have learned that while I’m ill, I’m still a person who needs companionship. I can still do many things. Sometimes it’s mind over body if I really want to do something.

It comes down to attitude. We have to make peace with our past, cherish our todays and celebrate our tomorrows. That’s what I told the specialist today. The look on her face was one of astonishment. And we proceeded to map our the next plan of action to deal with the latest issue. I encourage you to continue moving forward, head held high, facing the challenges with grace and dignity. It’s your call.

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