On days where I don’t quite feel right, I often find myself going back to think about how I would evaluate success in life. I’ve got my masters in project management, and I know how to evaluate success on each and every goal I’ve set if I was to be so inclined. It’s just such measures seem so shallow.
I find myself coming around to a sort of duplicate bridge way of evaluating my life from day to day. In duplicate bridge tournaments, people play specific hands. Then they move on to other specific hands such that at the end of the tournament a rating is based on how well you did in all of the situations with everyone having played with the same cards and distributions. Sometimes losing by one trick (the smallest loss possible), is a great result as others lose the same hand by an average of 4. It’s not just how well you did. It’s how well you did with the cards you were dealt.
As I look at my life through a duplicate scoring lens, I’m coming to think a person or a society might be better judged not by what they do or don’t do but rather by how much of what they could have done was done. If I could have cleaned the house but instead chilled out by the TV, I’ve not done what I could have done. On the other hand if I legitimately have 0 energy, not tending the roses isn’t something about which I should feel unsuccessful. I still did what I could.
I think about this as we are asked to take another kid in August. As Jill and I talk about it, we both think we can, and we both feel we would be the best home for him as he is already comfortable in our madness from respite care. Having him around has brought out the best in our kids in terms of them learning to shower love on one unable to express or possibly return the same emotions. This leads me to the feeling we should take care of him because we can even if it is not easy. I was lucky enough to be born relatively athletic to parents who made sure I was educated enough to be responsible for my thoughts. I wasn’t born dumb, and I was raised here in the U.S. where options for how to live my live are many. With all of these advantages, wouldn’t others, if given the same conditions I am in, do as well? I know I have MS, and it limits me and my family. However, I was given a pretty strong hand. Maybe it’s even the hand of 5 aces. I just find myself hoping when my life ends others will look back thankful for my life instead of feeling I have wasted it and all of its opportunities.