Monday, November 24, 2008
More curious. Less patient. More learned. Less tolerant. Hmmmm...less patient and tolerant are almost the same thing. Happier. Better physical shape.
I've been thinking about Trevis' question. How has MS shaped you? Those things listed above are the first things that came to mind. I have always been one to dislike stupidity, which has nothing to do with education and everything to do with "horse sense". I've done stupid things in my life, so it's not that I don't get the fact that sometimes people do stupid things. But people who don't learn from their stupid mistakes are the people I dislike. And as I age, I become even less tolerant of certain people. I have even gone so far as to eliminate relationships with some people. The ones who drag me down with negative thinking. The ones who repeat their mistakes and wonder why they get the same outcome. The ones who whine and complain without doing anything to make a change for the better. The ones who say they want to change but then don't take action. The ones who complain about what an organization hasn't done for them, but who make no effort to contribute to that organization.
Over the years, I have recognized my intolerance. So, in an effort to improve myself, I will give people a second chance. It's easy to do really, but I also let the person know that I'm giving them a second chance. If they are complainers, I will offer assistance in determining the problem they are having. Having identified the problem, I will offer a possible solution, or give them references to people that can offer a solution. And I tell them that the next time they tell me about the same problem I also want to hear what they did about it or I won't listen to them.
(There's a difference between a "bitch" session and complaining. I recognize the difference. The "bitch" session is simply a chance to air a grievance and get support and validation for the negative feelings. I've found that the person doing the "bitching" usually comes to an understanding of the problem and even may find a solution to it.)
I am in better physical shape than before MS hit. I renewed my interest in neurology so have read a great deal more about the subject. I have met some truly interesting and inspiring people that I would never had met. And I do far fewer stupid things.
But the biggest change is my increased intolerance for stupidity. Life is too short and I only have so many spoons, to borrow a phrase from Kim at Sunshine and Moonlight. I am not wasting my spoons on negative people when I could be out hunting bugs, raising funds for MS research, or reading a good book, or hiking with the Wookie.
All that being said, I am all about education. There are no stupid questions. If you are asking a question, that shows a desire for knowledge, which in itself is a sign of intelligence. I really like it when a co-worker or friend asks me something about MS or to identify a bug they found in their cupboard, or who sang a certain song and from what year.
Some may consider me a little on the arrogant side. Or a lot. Once they get to know me, though, they realize I'm really not arrogant. I just know where to get the answers. I've had a few people comment that I am "brave" for living my life the way I do. I don't believe I am brave so much as stubborn. But I won't be antagonizing polar bears any time soon. That's just stupid.