A Hobby Lobby

By Doug Ankerman

Work may define us but it is our hobbies that makes us unique.

Hobbies give you zest. Give you fire. They put a sparkle in your eye.

A hobby is what makes you – YOU.

So don’t let anything, like the dreaded ick we call multiple sclerosis, take your hobbies away from you.

MS is no reason to give up an activity you love. Accommodations can be made so you may continue doing what you want to do.

Like to paint but can’t hold a brush? Don’t let that stop you. There are dozens of computer programs that allow you to create (and no messy clean-up!).

Like to dance but can’t stand? Take a chair onto the dance floor, plop down & shake your bootie, dammit. Believe me, you’ll have more dance partners than you can handle as others will gravitate to your spunk.

Like to garden? Get down & get dirty. I can’t walk in grass & mulch either, so I crawl through the flowerbeds slow as an earthworm. A garden gnome with filthy knees.

My point is, you can do whatever you want…by planning. Come to terms with your MS by saying “We’re gonna do it within reason, and this is how.” Then do it.

Here are a few of my favorite daily activities…

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What’s New?

By Lauren Kovacs

I know this is very hard. Fear is paralyzing, even without MS.  You wonder why you didn’t wear your brown pants when trying something new. I am not suggesting Bungee jumping in your wheelchair or am I?

Branch out a bit.  I skied the Swiss Alps, was a gymnast, a college cheerleader and hiked the Highlands of Scotland.  Physical freedom may be way out of reach now for most of us now.  Wheelchair wheels don’t do well in mud and sheep poop.  Do something small instead.  Be adventurous.  My adventurous thing is leaving the house wearing regular jeans.

Try something new to you.  People may not be impressed that you can do something, but you might.  When I rode horses, for therapy, they had me ride backwards to work other muscles.  I hated it and was terrified.  But, not many people have seen the southbound end of a horse while it walked around the ring. Try.  You may surprise yourself.

I have terrible hand coordination. I got a Knifty Knitter hoop and made hats.  Takes me days, but when I am done I know I accomplished something.  Others may not appreciate your hard work, but you know.  Maybe you need to see and touch your accomplishments.

Pick a new thing and try it.  I tried painting with my non-dominant hand. I used to be a great painter and it was so bad my kids could not even tell what it was. I no longer paint, but I tried it.

Maybe try a new thing when no one is around. I tried painting when the kids were at school. It was an epic fail, but the important thing is to try.  It was a horse in a field and my kids thought it was a rock and I had to work hard to even get them to guess.

Try things that are completely new. Painting with my non-dominant hand was a disaster.  I saw the mess on paper, when I was trying something I used to be good at. It just pointed out how MS has taken everything.  Don’t set yourself up for disappointment.

Now, if an opportunity involves something very new, I try it.  Ok, bungee jumping will never happen.  I stay away from what I used to be able to do.  Set yourself up for success.  Trying what you used to do might cause failure.  Trying something totally new might be your thing.

You may find you are awesome at fly-fishing, for example.  What you used to shy away from or dismiss could be a great activity.  Maybe you can pick out great lures for fly-fishing. Playing guitar with your toes might be for you.

Gender norms might need to be crossed.  I know a guy who took up knitting.  Be brave.  It is like when my mom made me eat Lima beans, when I was a kid.  I still hate Lima beans.  Don’t knock it until you try it.  Feel free to knock it out, if it is not for you.

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