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I love movies. I always have. I have a collection of over 300 DVD’s at home (all accumulated in the last five years), I worked for the founder of Blockbuster and was one of the first employees when it started in the late 80’s, and I’m sure there is a shrine erected to me somewhere in the depths of Netflix headquarters.

You probably think it’s a bit weird then that I can’t stand watching the Academy Awards. I’m always interested in the process and the winners and enjoy watching the newscasts the following morning as well as the commentary in the paper. I just don’t like award shows. (Any award shows, not just the Academy Awards.)

I’m getting the same way with all the year-end (and now decade-end) lists. You know, the best restaurants, worst dressed, etc., etc. You have local and state lists, then you have entertainment lists, political lists, fashion lists, and the list of lists go on and on and on and on. To me, these are just mini-award shows.

I’ve contemplated doing a blog post on the list of things I can’t do any more because of RA — like touch the top of my head with my left hand (shoulder surgery), not being allowed to bend more than 90 degrees at the hip (hip replacement surgery), or the omnipresent lack of 3″ high heels. I’ve talked myself out of it because who would want to read such a list — it’s depressing to me just to think about putting it together. It would certainly depress those who read it.

But let’s face it. Having RA — or any chronic disease — is depressing. It’s not like we don’t all have enough to deal with anyway, then you layer on endless doctor visits, constant pain and fatigue, and looming disability. Sometimes you just gotta wonder, “Is this why I get out of bed every day?” And there are days you don’t or can’t get out of bed. Some days you just need that break, and you pull the covers back up and stay there.

I think the single most important piece of wisdom I’ve learned in my life is to be happy with what I have, not to wish for something I don’t. People who are on a constant quest for the next biggest something don’t find happiness because there’s always something newer or bigger or better. I look around my life and count my blessings. I have  people who love me, a roof over my head, a job that pays well, good health insurance, and great doctors. Everyone should be so cursed as to have to live my life — even with RA.

And while RA has given me a whole list of things I don’t like, it’s also given me a different way to count my blessings — the drug that finally works, connections to new people I wouldn’t have met otherwise, a kinship and understanding with and of those with invisible diseases. Okay, so these aren’t the blessings I would have put on my Christmas list, but they are powerful blessings just the same, and I’m happy to count them as mine.

Here’s hoping today brings you blessings as well. Thanks for checking in.