Living In America

It's not easy to stay motivated and positive...

The alternative however, is not a good choice.

Yesterday morning I woke up feeling alright until I moved to get out of bed. At first I thought that allergies, which are prevalent and very bad this year and the medication I had taken before bed, had caused me to sleep hunched up. That was my explanation until I stood up and realized that my back hurt badly, in the kidneys-kind-of-way and not just sore but painful.

This always freaks me out because it is close to the pain I woke up with one Sunday early in 2008 to find out during a week of doctor visits, something I dislike, that my left kidney had failed and as a result the right one was failing. Sparing the details, I ended up with months of several operations and outpatient procedures. I've also been having these past few weeks other small signs that could be related that I've brushed off. OK, I can deal with it, knowing it's probably only at worst a kidney infection or a stone. I drink a lot of water (it's all I drink) every day and now drink even more now to try to clear it out. I'll wait until Monday to see how it goes and then decide how to proceed if nothing's improved. My theory is if I'm not unceasingly nauseous, passing blood or throbbing with intolerable pain, physical problems usually can wait a few more days.

That discovery would have been alright if I hadn't been told shortly thereafter that the person I've lived with for 15 years, suddenly realized that he couldn't find my Post Office Box key, the only one that exists. This required retracing his steps to all the places he'd been before the post office, at the post office and from the post office as well as searching the house. Still...no key. Later in the day I went back to the post office again to ask if anyone had turned in a key. To summarize, this is going to be a different kind of pain in the backside, since I've had this post office box for decades and the other key disappeared years ago. I am going to have to pay the Federal Government to replace my lock, which will also wait until Monday, when I plan by then to still be walking upright.

Why am I recounting this Too-Much-Information in a blog that could be read by anyone? One of the few YouTube video bloggers that I still subscribe to who is of the video online community I was once part of, Mean Black Dude, in the Washington DC/Maryland area, posted a video blog "Motivate Me!." In his vlog he asks "how does one stay motivated in this society?" and keep on going in this economy. (Careful if you're squeamish about the "BS" word.)

It's a good question I think everyone from all segments of our society ask themselves. Some ask it every day, all day and others of us just ask it every once in awhile on a bad day. My response to him was in the limited context of what YouTube allows in 500 characters. Essentially I commented: What keeps me motivated may sound really corny but it's staying positive. I'm a pragmatic, realistic man so I control what I can, myself and my attitude, letting the rest go. I avoid negative people and refuse to buy into bad attitudes. That said, it's not easy to do, it takes effort. You can read the entire comment section here to see his response and the variety of other comments.

Am I always positive? Am I one of those happy, upbeat people that drives everyone nuts? Absolutely not. It is work to stay optimistic sometimes and I have down days. Some of them have been down weeks these past few months but in the back of my mind there is always the thought, that the only other option to not being generally optimistic and positive is not a pleasant one. I know because I tried it for a time when I was younger. Fortunately I discovered that being an angry young man wasn't good for me and especially for anyone around me. The prospect of being an angry old man also meant being a very depressed and bitter old white guy we all recognize. I'm not sure what woke me up but I'm glad something did. Perhaps it was another dramatic medical event in my twenties, the early death of my father when I was starting college or a combination of a number of unfortunate things that happened then.

When I had a medical crisis in 2008, far worse than I let most people realize, I again recognized that my only option was to remain optimistic, positive and self-reliant. That is because when you send out those signals to people, they are returned to you, multiplied. It attracts people to you who will also provide you with support and mutual help. When I had a less than productive or good day such as today, I somehow manage to keep putting one foot in front of the other and stop it from being a negative day.

I also reminded myself that no matter where you are in life you are, high or low, you can always look and find someone better off than you are and someone worse off than you are. That is what keeps me motivated to stay optimistic and positive as well as considering that the alternative is not a good choice.