‘Promise me that you’ll always remember that you’re braver than you believe, stronger than you seem and smarter than you think.’–Christopher Robin to Winnie the Pooh
My naysayers (and they are legion) rarely attack my writing (well, a few accuse me of trying to be a standup comedian). The thing they seem to take issue with is my belief that life is meant to be a glorious adventure, that happiness is a choice.
They say things like, “But what about war? What about kids born with disabilities?”
And I refuse to be swayed. Our head space is 100 percent up to us. I read a book over the weekend that, if we were in a courtroom, I would present as Exhibit A.
It’s called Laughing at My Nightmare. It’s by Shane Burcaw, a 21-year-old wiseass blogger who happens to have spinal muscular atrophy. He has been in a wheelchair since he was three. His parents or his younger brother have to pick him up and put him into bed at night. When he has to pee, they have to put his penis (did I just say the word penis in a blog post?) in what he calls “a pee jar.”
If anyone has a right to dispute my beliefs, it would be Shane. Yet, this amazing young man has more fun and a better attitude than many of us with fully functioning bodies. His mission, in fact, is to rid the world of negativity. He believes we get through adversity by laughing, by having fun.
He has a girlfriend (who he actually proposed to in the book), he graduated from Moravian College, he started a nonprofit to help others with muscular dystrophy (move over, Jerry Lewis) and Rainn Wilson (Dwight Schrute on The office) did a movie about his life. As Wilson says on the cover, “I would help change his underpants anytime.”
But most of all, Shane spends his time coming up with big adventures and crazy schemes. And proving to people that it is only our misguided thoughts that could ever make us unhappy.
Pam Grout is the author of 17 books including E-Squared: 9 Do-it-Yourself Energy Experiments that Prove Your Thoughts Create Your Reality and the just-released sequel, E-Cubed, 9 More Experiments that Prove Mirth, Magic and Merriment is your Full-time Gig.