There is a ticking clock that we are all aware of. Some of us are more aware of its presence than others. While we all know that we are mortals, flawed, and imperfect, there is a desire to live fully, a fear of illness and death. Allow me to quote Homer:
“I’ll tell you a secret.
Something they don’t teach you in your temple.
The Gods envy us.
They envy us because we’re mortal, because any moment might be our last. Everything is more beautiful because we’re doomed.
You will never be lovelier than you are now.
We will never be here again.”
Homer is absolutely correct. Immortality might take away from the beauty of life. Having it all? Not only is it unrealistic but it limits the experience of life in its grotesqueness, ugliness, and suffering. It gives you one perspective. And any singular perspective is limited and limiting.
For individuals with disabilities/chronic illnesses, I would say that the time factor presents itself in everyday life, in matters of the heart, in career decisions, choices, and in this concept of “life” and what it means to live. Because the clock ticks, there is a shadow of an ending, of inevitable loss. The loss is one’s self. The death is metaphorical, it is not life that ends, but instead, a part of you that withers away, leaves you standing in front of the mirror looking for you. You can’t explain it to others because their first reaction is “you’re a pessimist” or “be positive.” There are people who will say you are too afraid of life. I know MS is a part of my life I must make amends with, accept it, but it does not mean I should be celebrating it. There is nothing to celebrate. Perhaps we always think in terms of black and white, right or wrong, normal and abnormal, celebrating and grieving, gaining and losing. There is always a gray area. A different way of bridging the gaps. There is sadness and a distinct hope at the same time, a contradiction that is very real. When you are aware of the clock, you cannot help but embrace the moment. You want to dig your nails into the body of the beloved, you want to eat that piece of chocolate, and you want to travel today, not tomorrow. This concept of tomorrow seems too vague, too unsafe. My relationship to time is different. I think about time and space in a very concrete manner. I don’t leave it all up to “InshAllah” or “if God wills, tomorrow.” Being passive bothers me. When you feel the world around you is making decisions for you, you feel the need to start the car’s engine and drive at full-speed. Not in a reckless manner, not in a crazy manner. But just enough. Just enough for the thrill. To taste the moment. To make you feel that you have not missed out. Who wants to miss out on any bit of this journey? We’re all passengers, yes, as cliche as that sounds. I don’t want to sit in the backseat. It has to count more than that.