However one must still take the medicine. That is one of many bits of wisdom that I have accumulated in my lifetime of adventures and books, a bit of wisdom from childhood complements Disney’s Mary Poppins.
I am happy to be known as the Mary Poppins Nurse, I knew she was a Time Lord long before Pop Culture acknowledged her origins. I knew she was a Time Lord when PBS was in its infancy and Oscar the Grouch was orange. However, I am not here today to discuss Time Lords, or Mary Poppins or other purportedly fictional bits of sugar that helped my wisdom grow and flourish, I am here to talk about the medicine.
Medicine is the tough stuff we have to swallow to become better: better health, better writer, better informed, better person. Medicine is often bitter with wide ranging side effects, not all of them pleasant.
I remember just how disappointed I was as a child when I read a biographer’s portrayal of Jack London (how I loved, loved, loved his books) as a soft, overweight man willing to trade his name to grape juice manufacturers for ten silver pieces, and as much likely to survive an adventure as a spoiled persian cat. It was a tough pill to swallow.
I was still too young to realize that sometimes more motivates a biographer than love and facts; yet old enough to know that not everything in books is real; I somehow expected much more of Jack. I vowed then, I was not going to be like Jack, I would be a lifetime adventurer.
I now have great empathy for that armchair traveling Jack I so despised as a child.
AlThough it is also good to know that one opinion was mostly false, more scholarly biographies have reinforced my original perception of Mr. London without ignoring his faults, the facts are that he did slow down as he aged due to renal insufficiency of unknown origin and he was one of the first to trade his name and image to a product for money.
I am still am an adventurer.
I still have to take my medicine, including the aches, pains and infirmities of age, disease, and a few bad choices.
But there is so much sugar in my life, from roses blooming outside my door, to smiles from babies and the triumph of met goals.
Today at Physical Therapy my exercise assistant (who is a mere 22 years old and cute as a button) said with awe, “You’ve done so much!”
My first response was, “I’m old, more time to do things.”
But the truth is, if my life had run smoothly would I have had so many adventures? I don’t think so.
Today I salute all the hard parts, the things that made me better, more interesting, the things that led me to realize there really are only three important questions when contemplating an action.
1. Is it compassionate?
2. Is it ethical?
3. Does it support my long term goals?
Now all of you go out and take your medicine and say a thank you for the sugar that helps it go down….