20 books & 20 lbs (week 35): Musings on being lucky

It would be an understatement to say that the last week has been pretty hard on everybody. We lost a friend, and I wanted to just leave up my memorial post for him so that I could focus on just getting through the week’s events.

Amazingly, after eating seemingly everything in sight – and at some of the oddest times of day for me, I managed to keep my weight relatively stable. I’m still 10lbs down from my starting point, so I’m hovering at that halfway mark towards my goal, but I didn’t gain…and I consider that a big success. Or maybe it’s luck. It’s hard for me to guess.

I’m sure that I need to do something more drastic to lose the remainder of the weight, and I’m trying to figure out what I’m up for that’s actually maintainable over a long span of time. I can say that going down the 10lbs has already paid me back nicely in pants that fit a bit looser (which is both a blessing and a curse, since I hate wearing belts and then end up endlessly fussing with wayward capris).

Trying on outfit after outfit to wear to the wake and memorial service left me thinking that I have an odd dearth of black dresses appropriate for such events; even worse, some of the dresses I have that COULD be perfectly appropriate are a skosh too small for me right now. If I lost that other 10lbs…maybe. So, there’s always THAT for additional motivation.

Book #12: “Lucky Man” by Michael J. Fox

This has been on my list for a donkey’s age. DH added it to our library, since we’re both fans of Fox going back to “Family Ties” days. I knew about Fox’s battle with Parkinson’s Disease (PD) at a very high-level; I knew that he got it very early, and I knew that he worked as long as he could before disclosing his condition and dropping out of the acting world for a while. Reading his autobiography gave me an even better sense of what it was like for him, both before and after his diagnosis. He describes himself ultimately as a lucky man for having realized just how precious his time is and how he can use what status he has to help others. Just as he says that (post-diagnosis) he suddenly started to notice when someone young had tremors or other signs that were similar to his, I started to notice that about people I come in contact with. It makes me wonder if I’m looking at early-onset PD or something else.

This cleverly-written, engaging self-portrait talks of his meteoric rise to stardom and the life of a normal guy who could’ve fallen off the fame cliff with a bottle in his hand had he not found just the right partner in his wife, fellow actor Tracey Pollan. He describes how he spent nights (and some mornings) completely blotto, because that’s how someone at the top of his game found escape from his own nagging self-doubts. It makes me wonder if any normal person sucked into that unreal reality would react; there are just too many stories coming out about stars taking comfort in bottles, needles, pills or other unhealthy distractions. In many ways, he IS lucky for having survived just that, although the PD diagnosis seems like a cruel reminder that even rich and famous people are just that – people. Humans.

Towards the end of the book, he talks briefly about setting up the Michael J. Fox Foundation – an organization to which I have donated money (and will certainly do so again in the future). There’s something very noble, very touching, and very human about someone realizing that they have the ability to help others and then exploiting that opportunity in the best possible way. And, as someone who’s enjoyed his work on the small and big screen, I can say that his writing only makes me love him more. You can’t help but root for him and hope that his luck only keeps improving.


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