But yesterday I was very surprised that I found inspiration in my daily newspaper, the Connecticut Post, which, I have to admit, I've been reading less and less lately. But the cover in their weekly magazine, Parade, caught my attention. It was Michael J. Fox at 50. I have always liked him, and now I know why.
Here are some quotes that I enjoyed from the interview:
I could say, “I’m powerless over this, but I have options, I have things I can do.”We always can do something, no matter what our situation is. Of course, we can choose to complain about the situation, but why waste everybody's time? Like I've said before, we do need to spend the time processing things, crying as much as we need (or however we need to cope), and then we do have the choice to do something. Michael J. Fox mentions that, at first, he just dealt with his Parkinson's through drinking. Then, he stopped and became active in the research process with his foundation. So far, he has been able to raise $285 million. What would have happened if he had kept drinking and complaining?
Here's the next quote (bold emphasis mine):
I don’t look at life as a battle or as a fight. I don’t think I’m scrappy. I’m accepting. I say “living with” or “working through” Parkinson’s. Acceptance doesn’t mean resignation—it means understanding that something is what it is and that there’s got to be a way through it. I look at it like I’m a fluid that’s finding the fissures and cracks and flowing through.Acceptance is very difficult in many situations. I see why with my friends in my support groups. Some women are diagnosed with cancer the same week their husbands left them or they lost their jobs. I see women way too young, with little children or a supposed life ahead of them that just die of this disease that I have. And yet, I still think we need to accept that our reality has changed, that this is not a fight, but a walk, maybe not exactly in the park often, but still a walk, still with beauty around me and still full of possibilities. Accept that I am now different, but that maybe I have also gained something with this change. And acceptance does not mean resignation, we still have to move on, keep walking, in this our new path that appears at our feet every morning when we wake up.
In the interview, he also talks about his relationship with his children, but I think this is a message that is important for all of us:
I told my kids early on, “When you go out the door in the morning, choose happiness.” They roll their eyes. [laughs] I also tell them, “Try to go for the loving response to any situation. Recognize that the other person has feelings and something at stake, too.”I recently read in Twitter (wish I could remember the source) of a teacher that has this (or something like this) on his blackboard: "If you have to choose between being right and being kind, always choose kindness." Michale J. Fox's quote reminded me of this. Again, I think we all need to learn that, not just kids.
And, finally, he says:
I really love being alive. I love my family and my work. I love the opportunity I have to do things. That’s what happiness is.Happiness is not getting that job, or that new iPhone (maybe? - just joking). Like he says, happiness is the opportunity to do things. As simple as that. I just love it.
You can find the whole thing here. (And I hope I don't get in trouble with the copyright police for putting his picture here).