Living with ALS and the beautiful life philosophy of John Lennon
CHARLOTTE, NC, February 4, 2018 – Dealing with ALS is a continuous process of transition and anticipation. Despite all the turmoil ALS causes, I am learning to understand the beautiful life philosophy of John Lennon. The joys of anticipation.
Baseball is a game of anticipation. For the first third of my life, baseball was something that I anticipated being in my life.
That part of ALS is relatively easy to focus upon.
In fact, most sports are truly games of anticipation. Nothing is more demonstrative of that idea than football and the Super Bowl. Each year the build-up to the game lasts two weeks or more with all manner of speculation before the kickoff even occurs.
Fans spend gazillions of dollars on parties, travel and game tickets all in “anticipation” that they will see something they have never witnessed before.
When the 2019 NFL championship rolls around next year, all the speculation of 2018 will no longer matter. In fact, what was so important just a month ago is barely something most people think about now.
Sports are for the moment. They are a present tense phenomenon. Baseball thrives on anticipation as well, only from a slightly different perspective than football. Baseball is played every day so there is less time for hype. Anticipation occurs in baseball during the game which is much like a chess match played on a massive green and brown diamond.
So much has anticipation become an integral part of baseball that statistics now predict the odds of where a batter will hit the ball, resulting in strange defensive shifts, especially in the infield.
An anticipation of tomorrow keeps today brilliant
Anticipation has become so much a part of our daily lives that when the actual event eventually does take place it is frequently a letdown.
Movie lovers have been anticipating the Academy Awards for months.
Media is so infatuated with polls they are already speculating about candidates for the next presidential election.
The past no longer matters because everything is so far in the future that even the present begins to lose its impact.
Perhaps John Lennon said it best when he profoundly wrote,
“Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.”
During the course of my travels over the years, I have often escorted wealthy people who spend the entire tour talking about their next trip rather than enjoying the one they are experiencing. I have always felt a certain sadness for them because their idea of travel has become little more than a status symbol rather than a life-altering event.
It’s impossible to count the number of times I have received phone calls or e-mails from people I traveled with who will ask things like, “What was the name of that city where we saw Michelangelo’s David?” or “Where were we when we visited the Louvre?”
The examples are extreme, of course, but they represent the cookie-cutter mentality of so many people who waste their lives on personal prestige rather than comprehending the world from the perspective of other cultures.
John Lennon had a poignant statement about that as well:
“Only by trying on other people’s clothes do we find what size we are.”
A good friend who was once a prolific travel writer once said to me that,
“In a way, every story is a travel story.”
After events such as the recent shootings in Florida, that comment might seem like a stretch, but then consider a visit to Ford’s Theater, the Tower of London or Dachau where time has altered the tragic events that occurred in those places into historical landmarks.
Transition and anticipation are powerful forces each of us must reckon with throughout our lives. ALS and other medical conditions may magnify them for some of us, but, in the end, it all boils down to the fact that life is short, and we should revel in each day we are blessed to live and enjoy the hours given to us.
Again a quote from John Lennon:
“We live in a world where we have to hide to make love, while violence is practiced in broad daylight.”
Almost prophetically, the former Beatle was gunned down in the archway of his apartment complex in Manhattan in 1980.
Each of us is granted a finite number of days in which to live. Too often in the race to succeed and get ahead, we tend to forget those limitations.
I am as guilty of that as anyone.
ALS and a new found anticipation for life
In that sense, my ALS has brought about a new form of anticipation. It has been a blessing to open my eyes each morning and greet a new day even though I am keenly aware of the looming struggles to shower, dress, eat and manipulate my way through the daily minefield of life.
Everyone has their own personal passions.
For me, it is a reinforced effort to see as much of the world as possible. Already I have been blessed with life-changing events that have made me all too aware of this big blue marble we call home.
I daresay that anyone who has ever ventured beyond their own borders, even my cookie-cutter traveling companions, have been affected by a world beyond their comfort zone.
John Lennon got it right in so many ways, not the least of which was this thought:
“A dream you dream alone is only a dream. A dream you dream together is reality.”
About the Author:
Bob Taylor is a veteran writer who has traveled throughout the world. Taylor was an award-winning television producer/reporter/anchor before focusing on writing about international events, people and cultures around the globe.
Taylor is the founder of The Magellan Travel Club (www.MagellanTravelClub.com)
Editors Note: Support Bob’s GoFundMe to give him a hand up