Thursday, December 23, 2010

A new perspective on perspectives

I thought about writing more on this topic, then thought against it. Now I keep thinking about it so I am writing about it so I can focus on other things.

Come on. We may think our lives suck sometimes. Or in some cases, we may think that life itself sucks and there is no point to it. What gives us the right to be better off than others? My, that's a very selfless thought, one may say.

One simple way to turn thoughts around of our own life sucking is by seeing those that are less privileged in order to gain some perspective.

But everyone knows that. We’re just ignorant and stuck in our own privileged world and enjoy complaining about little things like our parents being too stern or when we don’t get what we want. We choose to turn away from realizing the pain and hardships of others.

Okay, instead of thinking about the negatives that others have, I propose that we think of things in a different way: these so-called unprivileged—those living in poverty, those who are sick or disabled, those who have lost family members, those who are politically oppressed, those who are physically or mentally incapable of doing things, those who have lost most of their family members—what keeps them wanting to live then? They don’t have what we have. Why do they fight every single day to breathe, to get that one drop of water, to wake up in the mornings?

Think about it.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

"Hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things, and no good thing ever dies."

I remember saying to a good friend how I should have started a blog when I was in the hospital. She said she is glad I didn't. I was really struggling with coping at the time and it probably would not have been good to keep a written record to look back on of that time.

I think now I am going to occasionally write little stories and experiences from my lengthy hospital stay after my accident. That time period had a profound effect on who I am now and, similar to my birthday post, I don’t want to ever forget about “my roots”.

After only a few weeks in the hospital, I started becoming restless. I was losing it.

“This is Shawshank, man,” I would tell my friend. I was referring to The Shawshank Redemption, an amazing movie depicting prisoners in the 1940’s. What I meant by saying that was that I felt like I was in prison.

In the movie, Andy Dufrense, played by Tim Robbins, is wrongly accused of murdering his wife and then sent to a maximum security prison. I also felt like I didn't do anything to deserve my situation, yet I was doing time.

Just like a prison, I had no privacy because nurses or other hospital staff members were always entering the room.

Just like a prison, I couldn’t go anywhere because the colored tag on my wheels said I couldn’t go past a certain hallway—until I got the prison equivalent of “privileges for good behavior” and was then allowed to go outside the hospital into the courtyard. I couldn’t leave.

Just like a prison, I had to stick to a schedule and for quite some time, had to eat simple mashed food (and drink thickened water, but I’m guessing they didn’t have that in Shawshank).

There was no way out. I was stuck. The Shawhsank Redemption was real life for me.

Recently, I was told that I’m still stuck in Shawshank. A short dialogue from the movie:

Andy Dufresne: That's the beauty of music. They can't get that from you... Haven't you ever felt that way about music?
Red: I played a mean harmonica as a younger man. Lost interest in it though. Didn't make much sense in here.
Andy Dufresne: Here's where it makes the most sense. You need it so you don't forget.
Red: Forget?
Andy Dufresne: Forget that... there are places in this world that aren't made out of stone. That there's something inside... that they can't get to, that they can't touch. That's yours.
Red: What're you talking about?
Andy Dufresne: Hope.
Red: Let me tell you something my friend. Hope is a dangerous thing. Hope can drive a man insane.

Later, Andy says to Red, “Remember Red, hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things, and no good thing ever dies.”

Hope is stupid, I was also starting to think. It takes a lot of strength to keep hoping for things. It’s for the ignorant.

I had to be reminded that hope is a good thing. No good thing ever dies. Hope is what sustained Andy though his trials, and it is what got me through mine.

Once hope is lost, there is no middle ground. One may argue that one can simple accept things and move on, but if you can’t win something, you've lost it. You've been defeated. Hope doesn't mean being totally ignorant and believing things will be exactly normal and dreamlike. Hope means knowing that there is a capacity for things to change, to be better, and with this hope, one can use his/her abilities to work towards that.