There are people in this world who can afford to fall into the void of self absorption, people with names like Britney and Lindsey and Paris, who thrive in the vacuumous pit of shallowness.
But when your life is so tenuous that you must cherish every moment, when you can’t rely on wealth or good looks to unlock closed doors or throw obstacles out of your way, you can’t afford to be caught up in such a lifestyle.
Every day I hear stories on the news about able-bodied people who, via intent or accident, throw away things I’d practically kill for, like life, love, money, and joy.
But it is these very same people (or those like them) who will look down upon the disabled with disdain or pity, as if we are the most sad and lowly people on the planet.
We have the same needs and desires, the same wants and disappointments, as any other being, but have to work 1,000 times harder to achieve even a fraction of what others are handed on a silver platter.
Yes, disabled people have major problems with self esteem, their spirits often poisoned with depression over the unfortunate lot fate has cast upon them.
Then, I see those who are healthy, wealthy, and/or wise, who have everything in the world to live for, to be appreciative of, wasting their blessed lives over a misguided sense of privilege and excess.
They party without a care, and risk everything in miscreant acts meant to dull the tedium from an underappreciated existence.
Maybe I’m just dense when it comes to such thoughts, or perhaps I’m just a bit jealous of those who seemingly have so much happiness that they can afford to cast it aside like yesterday’s trash.
Or maybe my disability has allowed me to sit on the sidelines and get a unique perspective on our society’s fruitless rat race as it passes me by.
I can’t fathom how one can take something so cherished by some and treat it as if it is so plentiful that you can waste it now, and then like bountiful fruit simply pick more from the nearest tree later on.
I want to grab people like that and shake some sense into them, force them to look into my eyes and recognize how much I, and others like me, would give to have one tenth of the things that they so easily take for granted.
But in the same breath, I admit that I never want to be like them, that despite the things I wish I often wish I could do or change about myself, that I love myself for who I am, as well as for who and what I’m not.
My disability is an integral part of me, not just an outside force that has influenced the paths I’ve chosen.
There’s an old saying that “we are what we eat.” In reality, I think that “we are what we are.” Although we do have a great influence over the choices we make and the paths we take, ultimately, life is just a series of dice rolls.
You have no choice but to accept whatever the outcome is, be it snake eyes, boxcars, or something in between.
Contentment comes from learning to love who you are, as well as loving others for who they are. Life is not about the haves and have nots we fret over, nor about the wishes and desires we seek.
Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing wrong with dreaming of greater things because that’s what motivates us to strive for higher goals. But in the end, neither the past nor the future matter if we can’t find appreciation for the here and now.
Don’t be like the greedy dog who mistakes his own reflection for another dog with a bone that he must have as well. In the end, the dog wound up boneless, and if we aren’t careful, maybe we will as well.
We all must find happiness in what we have now, otherwise the achievements of the future will be about as meaningful to us as a pair of panties are to Britney Spears. And just like the undergarments of the painfully immodest rock princess, there are just some things that we should never take for granted. Never.
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