(dis)like

August 28, 2017

at first, I thought divisiveness was only a by-product of politics and the news media.   Some of us exhibit confirmation bias and (often unknowingly) we seek out echo chambers consistent with our point of view.  Recently, I’ve read a book contrary to some of my inclinations.  That said, it’s constructive to actively listen to counter-arguments. It’s our task to convince and not talk-over someone -my experience is that making people feel dumb or pointing-out that they’ve got “silly” ideas is counter-productive.  As the adage goes, you can disagree without being disagreeable. I’ve always believed you can learn from anyone:  what to do and what not to do.  I subscribe to von Bismark’s thoughts on arguing.  I’m open to hearing differing opinions but still have a ways to go.

I “stumbled” on this segment also calling for “openness” when it comes to literature choices:

http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/problem-liking-things-find-relatable/

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running in place (2)

June 29, 2017

another reason I exercise daily is so that I can propel myself further when the wheelchair is equiped with rim grips and so I can open ‘heavy’ doors (especially for the toilet) independently.  I usually have a light lunch to help keep my weight in check(because I indulge occasionally in tasty food) so I can ‘easily’ push myself with a walker, to help reduce the injury when I sometimes fall, and make it ‘easier’ for the person pushing (or infrequently lifting) me on a wheelchair (if I can’t roll myself).

running in place

June 28, 2017

sometimes treading water is the ‘best’ option albeit somewhat frustrating (we can’t always be running towards or running away from something as comedian Wil Anderson deftly puts it).  Next week, I resume seeing Physio students weekly.  I do this and see a NeuroPhysicalTherapist about once a month to help prevent further decline.  Moreover, I exercise daily (except when I’m not well) to maintain my health and to increase my endorphins as I now have to stay home (whereas I used to hold at least two jobs before my ABI).  I’m now working on a doctorate to help pass the time and keep my mind occupied.  Furthermore, I take certain supplements to help boost my health as no medication can be prescribed to me.

Sure there are days (more infrequent now after all these years) when I don’t feel like doing much but force of habit can be of great benefit at these times.  I don’t want to wallow in self-pity or play the disability card but the sad reality is most of society (even in this day and age) only understands when these are emphasised.  On one hand, we need to show empowerment and focus on what we can do; on the other, we need to show vulnerability (this is especially hard for me given my nature and the manner in which I was raised).   Good thing my wife and son are generally ‘happy’ and complement me and act as a foil to my inherent negativity.  In short, achieving balance is tricky and I don’t pretend to always get it right but I try my darnedest (as by default I have always done this).

Aligning what was expected of me and my current situation is a real challenge. I’m on the road to acceptance but still have a ways to go.

strange bedfellows

March 20, 2017

they recently showed the Theory of Everything on free-to-air tv.  While Stephen Hawking is an inspirational figure, he’s not necessarily aspirational for me.  I’m nowhere near as smart.  We need people we can relate to.  I accomplish things because I’m not dumb and work really hard.

I know Dr. Stephen Strange is fictional but I could weirdly relate more to the film Doctor Strange.  I’m not a surgeon but I guess it had to do with embracing the unexplainable despite bring logical.

Strangely enough in the movie Logan, I could relate to both Professor X and Wolverine –   this was the first time I saw myself in two characters.  Maybe it was their “fall from grace” so atypical of a superhero flick or maybe it’s because I’m such a comic book nerd.

Regardless, we’re all different, relate to certain things, and process things at our own pace.  Despite people’s insistence, a single, magic, silver bullet  “solution” doesn’t always exist.  Some issues are divergent or require multiple things acting in harmony.  Narrowing it to one thing would be great but that isn’t always possible.

they might be “giants”

February 23, 2017

Newton coined the expression standing on the shoulder of giants. With the advent of the Internet I think this could be extended by adding goblins and gnomes to giants.

Aside from what to do, I think you can also learn from what NOT to do. Hence the term goblins.  I’ve always felt you can gain from people what to emulate and what to avoid.  Granted some of this may be repetitious but sometimes lessons need to be repeated to ensure they are drilled in thoroughly.

I subscribe to the wisdom of the crowd and individual empowerment.  You can also build upon ideas of people who might not be considered as giants in their field – that’s why I use the term gnome to highlight the contrast.  An idea may be good despite its origin.  Admittedly, we are more likely to learn from “experts” (being a teacher in a former life, it would be hypocritical to think otherwise).  That said, we also need to be open and allow cross-pollination from other disciplines or differing opinions.  All ideas must be given a fair chance.

The original quote will always be valid but IMHO it can do with an adaption to our times.

not so very good bad day

December 14, 2016

yesterday, everything that could go wrong did.  There are just days like that – it didn’t help that I couldn’t exercise the day before (it seems that’s how I deal with stress).  I’m not a big fan of disability being used as inspiration porn – it’s merely a snapshot and we experience bad days too.  Some times are like insurance write-offs – we should be allowed to feel grumpy occasionally (although knowing my personality, I’m surprised this doesn’t occur more often).   We’ve just learnt to deal with the situation and put one foot in front of the other.

Some people use reality tv (and disability) to feel better about their own lives.  Other people’s plight should be a source of empathy or compassion and don’t exist for others’ motivation (if it “inspires” you to be a better person than well and good but if it only stops you from whinging because you feel lucky or blessed then deeper reflection is needed).

Everyone likes to watch fails (myself included) – experiencing Schadenfreude is natural for humans.  My own experiences leads me to believe that externalities as a source of joy can’t compensate for the “emptiness”(they can only make life more “bearable”).

i’m still here

November 22, 2016

it is like a balancing act (walking on a tightrope as it were) between acceptance and “raging against the dying of the light” – I think the latter is too negative and implies merely fighting (which is not always the most appropriate metaphor).  I do not claim to get the mix always right but at least I’m more conscious of it. I try hard and exert enormous effort despite not always succeeding: it is partly a function of my inherent stubbornness and my will to be better.

The reality is people with ataxia mostly do not improve: the point of physical therapy is to stave off or delay degradation. Aside from my daily exercises, I will endeavor to do the home program that my neurophysio gave me more regularly because it is supposed to be highly beneficial for my condition.  My appointment with my neurologist and the report from my physio prompted me to reflect (not to mention the PT students going on holiday).

Not having a “name” for my condition is a double-edged sword: not knowing does not “box” me in a fixed category on one hand; on the other, I struggled at first because I wanted to learn as much as I could so that I could take appropriate actions to delay (or better yet eliminate) it.  Not to be too fatalistic but all people are dying since their birth:  some are just more accelerated than the “average”.