THE BLOG

Life Is Not Black & White

01/01/2014 18:55 | Updated 03 March 2014

A wise woman once told me that "Life is not black and white", for there are many shades in-between and grey areas that raise difficult questions, some of which have no simple answers, calling for flexibility and non-judgemental acceptance. Although certain areas of life are absolute and clear cut; for instance either you are pregnant or not, let's face it, there is nothing in-between! Most of us hope to sail through life in calm waters, making our way smoothly, navigating life's ups and downs and moving with the ebb and flow of the tide. The ever changing seasons and currents sometimes pull us off course, our direction is altered and plans go awry, but the human spirit is strong and we continue to move forward. Inevitably we find friendships are put to the test at some point, especially when faced with painful experiences such as bereavement, divorce or ill health. Some people step up to the mark without hesitation, whilst others just can't cope and decide to remove themselves from what they feel is an uncomfortable situation, and a relationship they are no longer prepared to invest in. It's an unfortunate fact of life, showing poor character and I wonder what would happen if the shoe were on the other foot?

Born with Gaucher disease and battling for the last eight years with Parkinson's, I became an advocate for both diseases. It may sound odd, but my ill health has taken me on a tremendous journey, one which I would never have dreamt of a few years back. Through my website I have written a blog, much like a personal journal. I have shared my thoughts in an honest candid fashion, the ups and downs of living with chronic disease, along with imparting helpful information I've learnt along the way. I have written about difficulties and bad days, topics considered 'taboo', tempered with funny anecdotes. I hope my sense of humour and positive attitude in the face of adversity has come across, and given those in similar circumstances optimism and encouragement.

Although I'm still in good spirits, and my mind is sharp, there has been a deterioration in my physical health. I therefore recently had to re-assess my situation which brought me to a difficult decision. From the beginning of 2014, I will be reducing my commitments, and instead of writing every day on my personal blog, I'll blog just once a week on a Friday, and continue writing weekly articles for The Huffington Post. I hope this will alleviate some of the pressure and time I spend each day at the computer. I need to take better care of myself conserving valuable time and energy for my family. I cannot carry on at the pace I have been running at, but hope you'll continue to follow my journey as I share experiences with you along the way.

I'd like to thank my readers, for all the support, comments, and messages you've sent me and I wish you all the very best. May you experience more good days than bad, enjoy cherished moments with your loved ones, make special memories you'll look back on fondly, and grab life with both hands. Realise what's important to you, for life is precious and goes by in a flash.

I believe Mark Twain had the right idea when he said: "Twenty years from now you'll be more disappointed by the things you didn't do, than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbour. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover."

Coming to the end of another year, always makes one look back on memorable occasions and achievements. It has certainly been an interesting and eventful year. I'm not one for making new year's resolutions, but I do hope that 2014 brings a cure, or treatment to stop Parkinson's in its tracks. If I had Aladdin's lamp, I'd give that old mythological oil lamp a good rub in the hopes of summoning up a genie. I wouldn't need three wishes, just one would do. However, it would be a shame to waste two wishes, so I'm sure I'd think of something!

A new year inspires hope and a fresh beginning. Life may not be plain sailing, and it certainly isn't black and white, but make the most out of what you have, and count your blessings. I wish you a happy and healthy new year, and may 2014 be everything you wish for.

http://www.elainebenton.net/