Always Looking Up

I just (quite literally) finished Michael J. Fox’s new book, Always Looking Up: Adventures of an Incurable Optimist. I wasn’t really sure what to expect but, given my life situation, I’m always drawn to books about people and thier stories of hope, survival, and overcoming adversity. I found his story particularly intersting because of both the way he described the intricacies of a life with Parkinson’s and the research he backs, but also the frankness and simplicity with which he spoke of his personal life. While I was reading, there were some statements that Fox made about his daily life that particularly struck a chord in me. Even though I do not have a dabiliating disease like Parkinson’s, in fact I could never imagine how difficult that must be, there are struggles along the way. Some of these quotes made me feel at peace. They made me realize that, though you may feel like you are the only person in the world facing these trials, you’re only alone if you allow yourself to be. Whether you can relate to this situation through yourself, a friend or family member, or you don’t think you can at all…I hope you can find something to hold onto in these words.

“For everything this disease has taken, something with greater value has been given–sometimes just a marker that points me in a new direction that I might not otherwise have traveled.” Pg. 6

“Sometimes, when you’re alone, minutes pass before you even realize you’re crying.” Pg. 45

“One way to appreciate the difference between what happened to Chris [Reeve] and what was uncoiling in my life would be to analogize the sudden impact of a locomotive with the incremental awareness of being tied to the tracks , and feeling the vibration from the approaching train, with no way to gauge its proximity.” -Pg. 86

“Before a catastrophe, we can’t imagine coping with the burdens that might confront us in a dire moment. Then when that moment arrives, we suddenly find that we have resources inside us that we knew nothing about.” Pg. 86, Christopher Reeve

“You suffer the blow, but you capitalize on the opportunity left open in its wake.” Pg. 151

“No single one of us knoes which pebbles causes the wave to crest, but each of us, quite rightly, believes that it might be ours; an act of faith.” Pg. 153

“The purpose you wish to find in life, like a cure you seek, is not going to fall from the sky…It requires the faith to take risks and a rejection of the bonds of fear.” Pg. 178

“I didn’t choose to have Parkinson’s. I agree that if I took on the condition and everything that comes with it just to be an advocate on behalf of others so afflicted, well then yeah, that would be historically heroic. But in a way, I’m just rolling with the punches.” Pg. 180

“I think one of the keys to my happiness is that I try to catch my mistakes and transgressions as quickly as possible after the fact and minimize the period of reflection” Pg. 199

“Each new moment gives you a sufficient load to carry, and I’ve learned, especially as my arms have grown shakier, that there are times when the wisest thing to do is to let go.” Pg 233

“To say that my attitude toward the disease itself was far less evolved than it is today would be a gross understatement. I still didn’t fully own it and was still wrestling with how wholly it owned me.” Pg. 260

“…My doctors warned me of a common side effect: exaggerated, intensely vivid dreams. To be honest, I’ve never really noticed the difference. I’ve always dreamt big.” Pg. 276