Saturday, December 08, 2007

This could be a blog post


Long time, no…be anywhere near  Blogger! Visitors, holidays, and The Common Cold have stood between me and this screen for weeks, and no doubt the continuing holidays will do so for much of the rest of the year. But! Let us not be downcast about absences past or future, but merry that we are met here today!

Little Boy just started getting really interested in walking today. He several times walked 4-5 feet at a time, toddling happily on his (objectively measured as such) adorable little feet. His enthusiasm is always inspiring. Never mind incurable brain diseases, Dad, check this out: I can move around using my feet alone!
My lovely and patient wife pointed out to me recently that I can actually take Advil every 4 hours if I choose, rather than waiting 6 as I have been. Avonex-hangover days might get a bit lighter soon; tonight is the first time I will be putting the accelerated schedule into practice.
In my copious spare time, I've been reading a book called Mindfulness by Ellen Langer. It's well-written, interesting, and useful, though I would not suggest that it be the only book one reads on the subject. I just read the description of an experiment in which people were given everyday objects that were described in one of two ways: either absolutely, as in "this is a dog's chew toy" or flexibly, as in "this could be a dog's chew toy". Those who were given the more flexible descriptions were better able to reinterpret the objects at hand for new uses; for example, using the rubber chew toy as a pencil eraser when need for an eraser arose. 
I've been having fun saying "this could be a…" about all sorts of things since reading this. This could be a Kleenex, or a doll's tablecloth, or a flag, or a booby trap, or a murder weapon, or a hat, or earplugs, or… Try it, it's fun. I think I may get the most out of the technique by applying it to less tangible things. At work: "this could be a dysfunctional team". Saying it that way reveals other possibilities. This could be a group of people doing their best. This could be a chance to practice team building. This could be a situation comedy. And what else? Many things, no doubt.
Or try this one: this could be a serious, potentially disabling, disease.
Maybe it could also be a helpful daily reminder to celebrate the miracle that I draw breath after breath, that my heart beats, that I am in this life at all. Maybe it could be a chance to connect with others. Maybe it could be the perfect excuse to finally go part time after waffling for 8 years. And as I am in a cheerful mood tonight, I will leave it at that. There are darker possibilities too. But just taking the opportunity to be creative in my relationship with MS seems like it has got to help.
I hope this letter finds you well, and I will write again as soon as I may. Until then, may I recommend Dinosaur Comics?