In the middle of my 2009 nightmare I read an article about Michael J. Fox (the actor diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in his 30s) titled, “On The Bright Side of Life.” It inspired me enough that I took the time to write down two key things he said in the interview.
Fox said, “Optimism doesn’t mean you get to skip the bad stuff. If you’re truly optimistic or have a capacity to hope, it should allow you to look at what’s bad and really get it’s measure, and say, ‘What is the extent of this?’ It’s the courage to look at something and say, ‘However bad this is, it isn’t bad indefinitely.’”
The “bad stuff” comes to everyone. When it came to me, I found it IS helpful to (try) to look at it with a perspective beyond the moment. In 2009, I wasn’t perfect at that, but I tried. I tried because I believe if we allow ourselves to “wallow” in the moment we may never leave it, and it may come to define us for the rest of our lives and may literally become all we are. We have to become more than simply the sum of the “bad stuff.”
Defining moments come to everyone in their unexpected lives. And if we handle those moments right, what we DO with the moment and its attendant challenges rather than the moment itself, can define us. We can choose to grow beyond the moment and become better than we would otherwise have been.
Fox also said, “We sometimes see subtractions…I’m not me minus anything. I’m me plus this experience…you still get to write the book. It’s going to have some chapters you might not have anticipated, but it’s still your story.”
His words hit home with me.
My experience of 2009 wasn’t going to destroy me. It wasn’t going to be the only aspect to me and of my life forever. I have a story, and it isn’t only one of ponzi schemes, crime, betrayal, divorce and an unexpected life. I still get to write the book. Although “The Unexpected Life” has been and continues to be quite a ride and some story–with experiences and chapters I never anticipated, it is mine. I’m the author. And although the plot has taken some very unexpected twists and turns, and it’s still going, I have faith and am determined to work to ensure there will be a happy ending!