Writing is a funny thing – we document our lives and our experiences, our emotions and sadnesses, sometimes our desires and sometimes even the fact we’ve cut our fringe or bought a new mug or made something good for tea. I’ve been writing a lot recently and it feels good to be doing so. I’ve also recently been feeling a bit sorry for myself what with a stonking asthma attack during ‘Australia’* (Hugh Jackman I hold you responsible for inflaming my innards so much with your overtly manly showering in the sweaty outback) but am now recovering with lots of steroids and some rest. I haven’t taken to my bed or gone all Jane Austen, but just been feeling a bit dismal, tired and tense as my lungs get back to normal. Thing is though, and forgive me for stating the obvious, my lungs will, get back to normal that is – it’s taken me 4 years since I had anything similar – that one was due to me holidaying in Brighton in a house with 2 strange dogs and assuming that the wheeziness would go away. It didn’t so I ended up in hospital. This time, I didn’t bother to have a chest infection checked out after 3 weeks of coughing my head off – my own stupid fault – so fast forward to the cinema where I corpsed at the first sight of a damp Jackman bicep, couldn’t breathe, got a bit scared and ended up at the GP.
So what’s the point of that tale? To flag up how lucky I am. To flag up how sometimes you get caught up in the minutaie of life and forget to remember what other people are dealing with – without a choice. To flag up how little I know about some things, like Motor Neurone Disease, and the web-site of an amazing man, Neil, and his family who are bravely documenting his experiences with such a unremitting disease. I’m sure he’d hate to be described as ‘brave’ but he is. I’m sure he didn’t intend to make total strangers feel empathy for him, but he has. I wasn’t having a resolution for 2009 on principle, but I have one now, a passionate one at that – be grateful for what you have, and who you have around you, and try not to, for one second of the year, to disregard or fail to embrace any tiny bit of joy that sneaks up. Enjoy your life, breathe your deepest while you can and never, ever tell me that you don’t think you matter – because I’ll hit you with whatever is to hand. If you want to learn more about MND, donate or just read about the experiences of Neil and his family, go here.
* I will be revisiting this film just for that very scene, once well.