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"Fascinating" Stephen S. Hall. writer, N.Y.Times magazine. "Hard to put down." A.C.P.A., American Chronic Pain Association.

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Friday, March 25, 2011

Life - 20% what happens to you, 80% what you do about it. How do your numbers fall?

Just watching a TV show and one of the people said, forget who he said said it first, "Life is 20% what happens to you and 80% what you do about it."

I do not know about that.

Certainly what you do about the things that happen to you is ultimately what makes the difference in how you view not only what happened but often life itself.

Sometimes you let things sweep over you, carrying you away with the intensity of it.

Other times you see the tidalwave coming and are able to head it off.

I think about things that I should have done or wished I had done when circumstances were in my control but I was not aware at the time that they were.

I talk to my friend on the phone. "You know I should have sued him, I should never have let it go that far, I should have written the letter or made the phone call." And then I give the excuses, the ones that seemed so legitimate and real at the time. They were true. The pain had me virtually housebound, using my eyes was a source of intense and increased pain, I was by myself with no one to give me advice or guidance.

In retrospect I wish I could have seen past the events to the impact they might, could, and ultimately did, have on my life. But hindsight is 20/20, a cliche that rings very true for me.

Do I learn from this?

My life was ruined by many things that happened. Abuse as a child, medical malpractice that paralyzed half my face and left lifelong additional medical problems, a birth defect that caused the pain in the first place, fears and worries that stopped me from dating and having a relationship. The list goes on and on. I look at the list and the realization hits me. I let my life become 80% what happened and 20% what I did about it.

I was very proactive about trying to stop the pain. I tried all sorts of medications, even opium and methadone. I agreed to surgeries that were scary without anyone there to help me get through them, some with potentially frightful dangers. I had to relearn to walk after one, to connect myself up to IV antibiotics after another, to convince a neurosurgeon that his procedure was right for me, to in all instances fight and stand up for myself.

Yet I let my family be nasty to me, tell lies about me. I let people I thought were my friends take advantage of me and then turn around and hurt me deeply. I let these hurts stay with me. I lick my wounds less but the scars linger, scabs that I continue to pick at, less and less, but pick at nonetheless.

It comes down to the decision. In which direction do I let the numbers fall?
It takes work, bringing them down little by little. I am getting closer to maybe 40/60. 60% choosing the response and behaviors to the 40% what happened.

It's a start.


  1. You must never blame yourself for what has happened when you were not even remotely able to make those choices with zero support.

    I so get what you mean. I dd not read this before posting in the discussion thread. As you had asked.

    But it's definitey in how we react to the 20% of what we have thrown at us. It's not easy to navigate through any journey with pain included alone.
    But my frend you do a stunning job of putting band aides on those wounds and take time to share with us who have such simliar issues.

    But I always know the pain created by your family is still too real, and what those awful men did under the guise of sound medicl treatment is not who you are. Does not define the Carol I have the gift and blessing to know.

    You my friend are a true survivor and never minimize that.

  2. ((*_*))
    It is good to have your input over here too.