At various junctures in my life — like when my husband was in the hospital and I commuted three hours every day to see him before I headed into work or when people learn of my chronic, incurable disease — what drives me to keep going, to get up every day and keep moving, even against terrible odds.
Well, maybe it’s just me, but I don’t really understand the question. It seems simple enough, sure, but I have a problem with the underlying assumption — that there is a choice involved in soldiering on. If there is, I don’t see it. If the choice — or “choice,” in my opinion — is between bravely marching on and giving up or abandoning someone you love, that’s really no choice at all.
For me, it’s a simple question of doing what I have to do. That doesn’t mean that it’s always easy. Some days (or weeks, if I’m honest) it’s harder to maintain forward motion, to put one foot in front of the other. Sometimes, I’d rather just stay put, feet stubbornly planted like a mule’s. But that never last long. I would rather push forward, moving toward a sometimes ill-defined, murky goal (be it remission, even a temporary respite from pain and sorrow or something else entirely) than wallow.
So, I guess what keeps me going is some combination of hope and duty. Hope for myself and those I love, that maybe the next day or the next week or the next year will be better, and duty because there are some things I feel obligated to do: I have a duty to those who try to keep me well — doctors and nurses and pharmacists — to at least try what I’ve agreed to try; I have a duty to my husband and my family to do what I can to make myself feel better; I am obligated to come into work, to do the job I was hired to do, so I can get paid to afford those doctors and nurses and drugs.
So, what keeps me going? Drive, maybe, or perhaps the refusal to say, ‘Uncle!’, to let something get the best of me if I can prevent it.
There are two big forces at work, external and internal. We have very little control over external forces such as tornadoes, earthquakes, floods, disasters, illness and pain. What really matters is the internal force. How do I respond to those disasters? Over that I have complete control. — Leo F. Buscaglia
(Image via We Heart It.)