As you read this, I will be pie-ing my way through (American) Thanksgiving. For some of you it’s a long weekend, for others you’re twiddling your thumbs through a workday. Either way, you all look a little too comfortable. Let’s go with stories of fear and disaster to jolt everyone out of their torpor. Have you ever had a near miss? Clawed your way back from the edge? Thought, “that could have been so much worse?” Do tell. I’ll go first:
I have This Thing. This non-life-threatening disease Thing that I don’t like to talk about or use the Scary Name for because it tends to freak people out, and because I want to give it as little space in my life as possible. But here’s the irony about This Thing: I’ve won the lottery with it twice. First, I won the bad lottery where I have This Thing and the doctor told me:
“Well, Ms. Julien, we know for sure you’ve got This Thing. That’s all we know. We can’t tell you how it’s going to go over the long term. It could be mild, but that’s very unusual. Likely, it will be awful and incapacitating. It may turn into an EVEN WORSE version of itself because it does that to a lot of people. Only time will tell. But you definitely have This Thing. So it might be horrendous, it will probably be disabling, and it’s definitely incurable, but we’ve got our best people working on it. Can I show you something in a financially-debilitating pharmaceutical?”
So I said, “Okaaay”, but with rivers of tears and terror because the monster that lived under my bed as a child had somehow managed to crawl up into the bed with me and wanted to snuggle. Then, after almost a year, I woke up and realised I couldn’t spend my life in a constant state of red alert, and as time went on I gradually got used to that most trite of psychobabble ideas: the new normal. But I said I had won the lottery twice. Because, although I have This Thing, after 16 years of surprise cameos, it has turned out to be extremely mild. So far. It could still go meshuggeneh, but the longer it doesn’t, the better my chances are that it won’t. They don’t know why. I didn’t do anything “right” to prevent it and thinking that I had would be disrespectful to everyone who has a worse time with it than me. I’ve just been extraordinarily lucky, so I am immensely relieved that This Thing has been an annoyance and not a lifestyle. It’s not over, but it could be so much worse.
And since it’s (American) Thanksgiving , I just want you all to know that the experience has made me truly thankful for just how beautiful and precious life is.