Friday, April 25, 2008

The road to better things

Someone told me, "I deserve better than this." She was speaking in part of her children growing up and leaving her. I don't see it quite that way, in that her children are seizing life, and what could be better than that? But what I do see is that now it's her turn to find a life worth seizing. She has a job that does not make use of her talents. In that respect, she is an eagle trying to live the life of an ant. She is a unique and creative person. I find that people I know who are more eccentric tend to have a more difficult time finding work, friends, and romance which will fit them. We all have our unique ways of shining, but we live in a world that has more niches for some kinds of shining than for other kinds of shining. Difficulty finding a niche in the mainstream is no indication of unworthiness. I can see that when I look at other people better than when I look at myself. We all have so much to offer. It's just not always easy to find a place where our gifts can be used.

Her situation resonates with me. I don't have kids, but I have been in the situation of younger people taking what they need from me and then moving on to better things. I want to find a place where I'm not something to be disposed of on the road to better things, but instead I am a better thing.

We all need to be in mutual relationships. We need to be with people who need what we have to offer and who give us what we need. But sometimes people aren't yet prepared to give, they just need to be nurtured. Parents and others take care of these people. Being taken care of may be what the person needs at the time, but ultimately, they will need to be in mutual relationships, so they will need to move on. Those of us who take on the task of nurturing those who aren't able to give back end up being in the position of being left behind. It's just one of the side effects of the job, but it doesn't mean that it's not a job worth doing.

Life with undiagnosed and/or chronic illness

When you have some sort of illness or injury, they tell you something about how long it will last and what symptoms you will go through, and it really helps to know what to expect. Having an undiagnosed illness is the same way -- it has its own set of experiences -- but no one tells you what they are. So as a service to anyone who may be in that boat, here are some things you may experience:
  • Time after time, you'll think that getting cured is just around the corner, whether because you have a good day, or because you start a new treatment, but then you won't be cured.
  • When you feel better sometimes and worse sometimes for no apparent reason, you'll be looking high and low for a reason. You can become quite superstitious, suspecting everything that you did and everything that you ate of having an impact.
  • People will tell you, "You don't look sick."
  • People will tell you that it must be psychological.
  • You will frequently doubt your own knowledge of yourself. With everyone telling you nothing is wrong, and you not wanting anything to be wrong, it's easier to just believe it and try to live like a normal person.
  • You'll make the rounds of doctor after doctor, and every one has a different theory, a different round of tests, a different set of drugs for you to take. The ineffective tests and treatments will take a toll on your already weak body.
  • You try to avoid talking to your doctor about what is going on with you, because you don't want to be saddled with more useless specialist visits, tests, and drugs, nor do you want to be told again that there is nothing really wrong with you.
  • You drastically modify your lifestyle to avoid things that require energy, like having a social or recreational life, and you start to take it for granted, to think that this is a normal way to live.
  • You can't have friends, because friends expect you to be able to make plans to do things with them. You can't make any plans for future days, because you don't know which day will be a good day and which will be a bad day. Except you do know most likely you'll be too tired to do whatever the other people want to do.
  • The Spoon Theory gives a description of life with chronic illness, though in this case, the person knows what the illness is.

Monday, April 21, 2008

2007-08 Best TV shows

For the past few seasons, my favorite TV shows were Boston Legal and Veronica Mars. This season, Veronica Mars was gone, but there was a fitting replacement in Pushing Daisies.

Pushing Daisies was only on for 9 episodes in the fall, and I think I only saw four of them. It is due back next fall. I call it a fitting replacement for Veronica Mars because I think both appeal to a younger, science-fiction/fantasy, light-hearted sort of crowd, while Boston Legal may appeal more to liberal intellectuals.

I like Pushing Daisies because it is funny, quirky, has good values, and is packed with stuff. What I mean by packed with stuff is that they just rattle off clever puns so fast that you may not even notice them all the first time around.

I like Boston Legal because it is quirky, hilarious, discusses important issues, and treats its characters with respect. This is a show that features a midget, a transvestite, and a man who purrs whose girlfriend left him for an iPhone, and which treats such characters with respect while at the same time taking full advantage of the potential for humor. I like the fact that there are characters in their 60's or so who are real people, people who still experience romance and friendship just like younger people do. You don't see that so much in TV and movies. I like the depth of caring the characters show toward each other. In particular, I'm thinking of Shirley's love for Denny. They dated a long time ago. She is a powerful, intelligent woman. He is losing his marbles, and something of a buffoon. He wants to get back with her romantically, and shows it in very immature ways, but she sees past that and loves him as the man who has been a part of her life for decades. Also, the friendship between Denny and Alan is the centerpiece of the show. It's rare to see a friendship between two men who will say "I love you" to each other. They're not type of people who are always talking about their feelings either, they are real men's men, they just happen to have a strong friendship. There are so many so-called comedies which to me are just boring and stupid, but Boston Legal never fails to to be funny. At the same time, it also raises awareness of important issues.

I'd also like to give honorable mention to Private Practice. It's not really any better than the average drama (e.g. Brothers and Sisters, Grey's Anatomy, Boston Public, The Practice, Northern Exposures, Men in Trees, Desperate Housewives, Picket Fences), but I like the way that the characters have been around the block a few times. These are not unspoiled youth seeking true love, whose happy ending comes when they and their love interest decide to get together. These people already found their true love, got married, and got divorced.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Sick people are such a bore

Sick people are such a bore. They're always complaining about their ailments, and they never want to do anything fun like going to a concert or hiking or skiing or rollerblading. But even more of a bore than being around a sick person is being one, because then you can't leave the room and get away from it, you can't do fun things, and not only do you hear all the spoken complaints, you also here the ones kept inside, you hear your body constantly complaining to you.