I was told this week (yesterday) that I have something called Rheumatoid Arthritis. And it doesn't change anything.
I've had it for years, and I've known this. The only difference now is that it has a name. (And some smart drugs to go with it.) But, still, it doesn't change anything...
I've been living with this for so long already, it doesn't change all that I've done. Even my doctor is surprised that I'm so healthy and relatively unscathed by what could be so debilitating. I was the youngest person in the waiting room yesterday. The older people, with their crippled hands and arthritically-mangled bodies looked at me like I didn't belong to their club. Secretly, I do. But the bigger secret is that I know that I won't ever be like them. Why? Because this doesn't change anything.
It's a part of my path, not a blockade. In my spinning and wandering, it brings me back to myself, to my simple, finiteness, to the reality that I must love my body and take time to feel my feet on the ground. If anything, I know where my boundaries are without feeling enclosed. It enhances my consciousness of self. It makes me deeper. It makes me sweeter.
I don't feel doomed, nor do I feel like a victim of circumstance, genetics, or what have you. Knowledge is power. If anything, this gives me the power to live a full life without having they typical American guilt that I'm not doing enough, going fast enough, or caring so much about superficial issues that clutter the path at any rate. I never cared about these things anyway.
Despite it, I've done so many amazing things already, and it doesn't change where I'm going. Who knows, I may inevitably lose the battle one day, but that's something I'll think about later. For now, I have mountains to climb. Literally. I'll be walking the old, 500K pilgrimage route from France to Galacia, Spain next year. It doesn't change that I'll make it there, stronger, healthier and in one piece. If anything, it will only change the fact that the process will mean a great deal more to me, and the victory at the end will be even sweeter. But really, it doesn't change anything. Nope. Not at all. Not one bit.