Every year during this time, I start reminiscing about:
* What would I be doing if . . . ?
* Where would I be working if . . ?
* How different would my life be if . . . ?
Things of that sort.
This year, the reminiscing is a bit different and more powerful than previous years. You see, in those previous years, I wasn’t turning 60 years old in 4 days!
When I was a child and I would attend birthday celebrations with my family and extended family, there were a lot of people who turned 60 throughout those years and I would look at them and think, “GEEZ, they are old!” Now that I’m the one who is turning 60, and 60 ain’t that old!!!!
Since my Alzheimer’s Diagnosis 6 years ago, I have been adamant about living the best life I can possibly could live.
I pushed myself to continue doing the things I already knew what to do.
I pushed myself to learn new things, although a few days later, I would not remember what I learned a few days before. That was out of my control but but that didn’t stop me from challenging myself.
I pushed myself to stay socially active, or as active as I could.
The one thing that kept me active was and still is, my advocacy and the love and support I receive. (I USE THAT ENERGY TO KEEP ME GOING!)
Pushing and challenging myself, became a double-edged edged sword. By that I mean, it was good for me but for friends, some family and acquaintances, it became very hard for them to believe I had Alzheimer’s Disease for I didn’t fit the mold, their mold. I DIDN’T ALLOW THAT OR THEM STOP ME)
I have many friends and acquaintances who were diagnosed before me, after me and the same year I was and they all push to keep themselves active and in the moment. They too have all faced the same things I have and they still journey on. Sadly, we have lost some of those friends over the years.
Yesterday morning on CBS Sunday Morning, #GayleKing interviewed 71 year old Olivia Newton-John about battling her third round with #breastcancer. During the interview, GK asked ONJ this question . . . “How do you stay in the moment and stay present and not let it consume you and worry you?”
ONJ Replied . . . “Denial is really good! Newton-John laughed. It’s really healthy! But it was consuming my day. And after a time, I went, ‘You know what? I don’t know what my time is, but I need to enjoy my life. So, I’m going to eat a cookie if I want it. And I’m gonna have a cup of tea if I want it. And if I wanna have a little bit of wine, I’m gonna do that, because the joy of life and everyday living has to be a part of that healing process as well”.
What a great answer! Now I know some will say that denial is not the answer, however, I have to agree with Olivia. She is not allowing her breast cancer (for the third time) to run her life.
It’s not like she is denying she has cancer.
It’s not like those of us living with a Dementia-Related Illness deny we have it, we just choose to live the life we want to live.
We know what faces us at the end but we don’t dwell on that.
Even though COVID-19 has put some restrictions on how we socially interact with one another, we still do that.
I’ve said from the beginning of my Alzheimer’s Journey, I would not allow my Alzheimer’s to define who I am as a person. I would live my life the way I want to live it.
Did I ask for this life? NO!
Is it the life that anyone who is / was living with a Disease that caused or will cause their death ask for? NO!
Am I going to give up on Living My Life the way I want to?
I am going to keep on living the best life I possibly can and when Friday, September 4th rolls around, I am going to continue to LIVE LIFE in the best way possible. Will I live an another 60 years? Well, YA NEVA KNOW!!!
Life is what you make of it and it’s up to you what you want to make of it.