It can’t have escaped your notice that it is the anniversary of William Shakespeare’s death, 400 years to be precise. So in a small act of homage to the good bard prepare for a smattering of literature!
“What greater punishment is there
than life when you’ve lost everything
that made it worth living?”
Romeo & Juliet
Some days it feels like this doesn’t it? What is the point in getting out of bed when your once ordinary life is now disappearing? Of course angst ridden teenagers always have the monopoly upon the unfairness of life, just remember Harry Enfield’s “It’s not fair!” Kevin, and particularly on getting out of bed. The student engineer and lovely girl certainly fall into the latter group! If the uni exams next week have questions about sleep and bed, he will be on his way to a first with no problem. This might be the time to share that he is actually “revising” really hard on the beach in Barcelona right now – some student life!!
Chronic conditions aren’t going anywhere. They have a nasty knack of rearing up just in time for that long awaited trip, but rarely taking a holiday when their wearer most needs some respite. Sometimes pain, physical or mental, does feel like a punishment – to me anyway! I don’t believe that there are many of us who are so selfless that we have never had that really bad day when we bemoan “why me?”. But I suppose the greater question is “well why not me?” because in Kevin’s words life is not fair. So on the good days I must focus on the things that do still make life worth living, so that on the bad days I can catch a glimmer that all is not lost.
“Virtue? A fig! ‘Tis in ourselves that we are thus or thus. Our bodies are our gardens, to the which our wills are gardeners. So that if we will plant nettles or sow lettuce, set hyssop and weed up thyme, supply it with one gender of herbs or distract it with many—either to have it sterile with idleness, or manured with industry—why, the power and corrigible authority of this lies in our wills.”
Othello Act 1, Scene 3
Was Iago right? Am I really in charge? A Twitter quote today said something similar
I quite like the idea of my will power being the gardener and that this gardener can nurture new growth through good and bad weather. This means that I can choose how I care for myself, that the seeds that I choose to sow and cultivate will shape me.
As someone with several chronic conditions I have lost things that made life worth living. Independence, mobility, waking up without pain, spontaneity, feeling carefree. But we all lose precious things throughout our lives, whether suffering an illness or not, as life constantly evolves and changes. As the gardener, I must learn to appreciate the new blooms as they appear in my garden; to take one day at a time whether thunderclouds gather or the sun shines; to tend and care for this sometimes failing garden in order to appreciate the “rich and productive” things that do still make life worth living. Coffee with friends, a child’s excitement, a partner’s touch, a faithful pet, favourite meal, or the days when the sun shines.
So as we celebrate the Bard, remember fellow spoonies that rather than viewing life as a punishment because of what we have lost, look to the future with Shakespeare for “What we are is up to us”.