Sep 082010

By the time we’re adults, I believe many of us are living our lives according to a script – not written, but recorded in our brains. Mine went like this:

I would work as an advertising copywriter until I was 65.5 years old, then retire, when I would write the great American novel in between rounds of golf, tennis matches, hikes in the mountains and fishing trips. But then came the weakness and the falls and, with the diagnosis of inclusion body myositis, came the realization that my life wasn’t following the script very well.

For a few years I tried to fight the inevitable. I continued to work. I even tried to keep playing golf and tennis. But when the golf club began flying out of my hands at the driving range, and after I fell and almost knocked myself out on the tennis court, I realized those leisure time activities were over. My fingers became weaker and this interfered with my writing since I had always been a fast typist and had specialized in long technical brochures that were now beyond my endurance.

I retired at age 60 on disability and spent most of the next year riding around the neighborhood on my scooter, sitting at the computer surfing the Internet, and watching a lot of television.

Finally I caught on, it was time to tear up the old script and write a new one.

What kinds of things could I still do, and continue to do as my weakness progressed? What would challenge me, but still be possible? The answer will come in Act 2. (Hint, it involves a brush.)

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