Five Great Joys in Life

From writer Robert Brockway, an insightful essay in, of all places, Cracked: "5 Great Joys in Life That Healthy People Never Experience" (June 2012). It begins:

I, like many of you, am a genetic wreck.

I am not supposed to be alive right now. If humanity still functioned on any sort of evolutionary logic, I would probably have a brief but successful career as a lion's afternoon entertainment, instead of being what I am now, which is a Mildly Successful Internet Thing. I possess a slew of health problems, chemical deficiencies, mental aberrations and spiritual monstrosities that I manage every day by the grace of medical science and an oblivious culture that not only tolerates but nurtures weakness (thanks, guys!).

Sometimes, I get bitter about my situation. I watch the powerful and healthy from afar, while I squat here in the damp shadows of disease, nurturing my resentment like a hypothyroid, myopic Gollum. But there are some joys in life that the hale, hearty, happy and healthy will never know ... the simple pleasure of ...

... and goes on to list Brockway's five great joys (here, omitting many Bad Words and Naughty Images):

  1. Getting New Glasses: "... You had no idea that life had better graphics available. You've been playing the 16-bit world this whole time, while everybody else was running quad-core realities hooked up to an HD screen. ..."
  2. Getting a Diagnosis: "... You're a problem that took all of medical science thousands of years to solve. ..."
  3. The Moment When the Medication Kicks In: "... If you're lucky enough to have a condition that can be treated -- not even cured, just treated a little -- the moment the medication kicks in is like unlocking a secret level in life. All these years, you've existed at half power ... If people thought you were obnoxious after you got those glasses, with your constant prattle about wood grain and cloud patterns, they're going to strangle that newfound health right out of you the first time you wake up to find it doesn't hurt as much as it usually does. ..."
  4. Getting Healthy: "... when you start off a pile of half-functioning organs and good intentions and it's only through years of slow, painful, careful work that you manage to shove yourself into a mold and come out looking something like a person -- you get a whole different outlook on life. ... You've barely bumped the needle on the Healthometer. But you're on there, now. And going from zero to one is an unfathomably larger distance than going from 1 to 100. ..."
  5. Backsliding: "... what's the upshot of getting worse? Experience. you're treading familiar ground. You know what failing health and disability are; you know what they feel like, and what it takes to get through it. That's a skill set you are guaranteed to use someday, because all of us, every one, will get sick and die eventually. That must be an awful experience for a healthy person -- being stuck in there, flailing in reverse down death mountain for the very first time. They will be wholly unprepared for it when it happens. But not you. ..."

Talk about Mr Pollyanna, and wise application of the metacognitive principles of reversal and reframing.

Awesome Optimism!

(cf notes on Brockway's earlier essay "Level Up" (2011-12-30), ...) - ^z - 2019-09-24