Turning 51 in Recovery

Now is the time to ask ourselves as Mary Oliver’s famous quote implores:

“Tell me–what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?”

We have only this lifetime. We are the only ones that should be in control of the direction of our lives.

Even with any limitations imposed on us by an illness I say: our lives ARE wild and precious. They’re ours to enjoy and celebrate and live in.

I know what I want to do with my one life: I want to be an inspiration.

May is Mental Health Awareness Month in America. I’ll do my turn here by writing in this blog entry the way I see it.

This did not get written in the description of Left of the Dial on my memoir’s back cover. Yet I’m going to talk about it here:

I’m not going to judge any other human being. Not everyone can hold a paid job.

My contention is that a person’s “work” can be a labor of love. Their job can be singing in a choir.

Their job can be working on their recovery. Their job can be getting up in the morning and taking a shower. Their job can be anything they get up and do.

As an author, I wrote about my own experience in recovery. I didn’t want to collect a government disability check the rest of my life. After a false start, I found the career I love in the library field.

My contention is not that I was able to hold a job because I had first recovered. My number-one contention is that because I found the job I love I was able to recover. Had I not found the job I love I doubt I would’ve recovered.

Which is why I make the case for finding what you love and going and doing that: when you do this you will have a better recovery.

I recommend reading the book TED Talks: the official TED guide to public speaking by Chris Anderson–Head of TED.

At the end of the book the author quotes presenter Dan Dennett:

“The secret of happiness is: finding something more important than you are, and dedicate your life to it.”

It’s like the lyrics to the Goo Goo Dolls song “Name” in which the leader singer croons that yes indeed life is more than who a person is. Google the lyrics to that song if you want. It’s a beautiful song.

We can transmute our pain by finding the work we love and doing that.

That was the premise of my memoir: that I healed when I discovered my right livelihood and started to devote my life to that.

“What is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?”

Go do that and you’ll achieve your own version of recovery.


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