I’m not what I used to be. (None of us are.) These days I find myself getting tired playing ping pong, frequently needing to sit down and take a rest. There was a time, not that long ago actually, when I could play for hours at a time, and I could do hard physical labor from sun-up to sun-down, practically nonstop. Now my ‘breaks’ are longer than my actual work time. And it’s not just the energy factor, either. It’s hard to admit, but my skills in doing things have also deteriorated.(Where did my backhand go?) I suppose this (gulp) is aging (don’t want to admit it). So what am I (and everyone) supposed do about it? (I dunno exactly, I’m asking you.)
Well, I guess we can try to be positive and optimistic. (Kinda hard to do that when you’re losing to everyone playing ping pong). People tell me to be flexible and be open to change. Adapt, they say (use a sponge paddle). Don’t look back. Look the other way, towards the future. They tell me to reinvent myself. Reinvent myself? What the heck does that mean? (Get a smart phone? Nah, too expensive.) One woman told me to take the regrets out of my life. Another told me to stop keeping grudges (I’ve always loved keeping grudges). Someone else advised focusing on good stuff, not the bad. I guess those are all reasonable and prudent recs, but I just continue on my old, well-worn, somber pathway.
When I joined the Ping Pong Parkinsons group, I was actually embarrassed that I had become this chronic complainer, a crybaby. It was seeing this contrast with the members in the group, that I discovered that I had no right to my chronic whining and acting as though I was the victim. Because here were people with the bad luck to be afflicted with a horrible neurodegenerative disorder who were fighting courageously to hold on. These are really courageous people, I was thinking. I mean they don’t have a choice, but their facing this illness with valor and a truly gritty resoluteness in fighting it was (and is) inspiring to me. And I don’t hear them complaining – truly astounding.
Yes, our ‘Pongers’ are indeed inspirational. They have influenced me positively. And I have been reminded how lucky I really am. Lao Du
PS: Currently, I’m reformed and I give myself a quota of only three complaints a day – mostly on the high prices at the supermarket. Take tomatoes, for example. Why should plum tomatoes cost two bucks a pound? And how come they have no taste? Ah, that’s another story. LD