Wednesday, April 4, 2012

And Beyond

I graduated May 2010 and received, among many other generous gifts, a copy of Michael J. Fox's book, "A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Future" from my Uncle Bill and Aunt Jill. I tossed it aside, it masqueraded as a cliche graduation gift and I had checks to cash! Until a few weeks ago it sat on my bookshelf at home, nestled between the other books that I mean to eventually get around to when reading "Little Women" for the zillionth time loses it's appeal. On the way to school after a weekend at home I snatched it from the shelf, intending to select "Blue Like Jazz" (because I still haven't read that one yet either...Sorry Dad). I didn't notice my mistake til I arrived at my dorm and didn't think anything of it, merely placing it in the back of the closet, easy access for the next major procrastination nation party.


Saturday afternoon found me lounging in the grass, desperately soaking up the sun and turning to the first chapter of Fox's book. An hour later, Saturday afternoon found me finishing Fox's book. I can't believe I missed out on it for so long. I was expecting stuffy writing, admonishing me to put classes first and social life second. I was so wrong. His writing reminded me of my own, only infinitely more polished, read by millions more (he's a New York Times bestselling author), and drawn from extensive life experiences that I haven't had the pleasure of meeting yet. 


I nearly laughed out loud multiple times, catching myself in time to realize that I was on the lawn in public, but it's hard to not giggle at the expression, "if you have one foot in yesterday and one foot in tomorrow, you're pissing all over today." It's also hard to not relate to that. I turned down multiple pages, with the express purpose to share his thoughts with you.
"I think I am a realist. The reality is that things change; the question is, how will I perceive that change, and am I willing to change along with it?"
I used to struggle with the concept of change, but something a teammate of mine said to me before I moved to Beaumont has encouraged me to embrace the unknown. Angharad said in her precious Welsh/Dutch/foreign accent, "view changes as opportunities rather than threats." Changes are transformers. Fox mentions that the current generation has a misguided view of starting over. People move cities to change their situation, but they don't anticipate the inevitable change of themselves. 


Fox was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease a few years ago. He touches on the subject, but doesn't dwell on what he can't change (there's that word again. maybe I should invest in a thesaurus?). He didn't choose his disease, but he can choose how to react to it. I didn't choose Addison's disease, but I do have control over how I let it affect my relationships. I do have control over how I educate myself on the subject. I do have control over the medicine I take. 


I doubt Uncle Bill and Aunt Jill could have predicted the impact this 100 page book would have on my life. And it might not have had much of one had I read it when I first unwrapped it. But I picked it up when I needed it most, and for that, I'm A Very Lucky (and significantly tanner) Girl. 

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