Make room for tomorrow, but live today

At one point during my career I traveled between the USA and France on a monthly basis working to merge a newly acquired company with our company in the USA. It was an exciting time for me. I loved traveling, meeting new people and experiencing new cultures.

Before flying out of the country each month, I would prepare for my trip by making sure my bills were paid, giving my house keys to a neighbor so they could periodically check on things while I was gone, packing a bag (many times over packing because I didn’t want to forget something), and switching my phone plan to cover international calls. I would also make sure food wasn’t left out on the counters and the trash was taken out because nothing is worse than coming home to fruit flies, stinky smells and work needing to be done.

There were a few times when a last minute trip was required. I have to say those always threw me for a loop. Without fail I would always forget something. Let’s just say I knew my way to the local store where I could pick up some of the items I may have forgotten. Some things weren’t so easy to find and I would end up either doing without or rigging up a solution. Even when I was ill prepared, I still enjoyed my trip. I just knew that if I had been prepared, even just a little, things would have been easier.

It’s the same when it comes to living with Multiple Sclerosis. I could choose to go through my life winging it every day unprepared for the surprises that pop up, or I could plan ahead by making sure my life is made as comfortable as possible and that I’m as prepared as I can be for the unexpected surprise that come along. Not everything can be planned for ahead of time, but many can.

Planning ahead doesn’t mean I’m giving in to MS or that I’m giving up. It doesn’t mean I’m negative, focusing on the wrong things or making everything worse because I’m thinking ahead about things that may never happen. It means I’ve allowed myself to accept my new “normal” in life and am aware that tomorrow life may change…good or bad, it may change, and if it should change in a direction I don’t like, at least I’m as ready as I can be for the transition.

If you plan ahead by choosing to live in a home without stairs in order to make things easier on you if your MS progresses, or you choose to put money away into a savings account to cover the costs of future adaptive equipment that insurance won’t cover, what you are doing is relieving the stress that those things can cause in your life when not planned for.

Planning ahead takes the stress out of an already stressful disease. Sometimes the hardest things to deal with are the concerns of how you are going to function in life if your disability progresses. Since no one knows what tomorrow will bring, choose to live today enjoying every moment possible but don’t ignore the fact that you are living with an unpredictable disease that can be prepared for in advance.

If your tomorrow proves to be nothing more than a few bumps along the way, planning didn’t hurt you in any way. Just save those things for the day you retire and keep smiling. But if you turn a corner and are slammed upside the head with unexpected medical bills or mobility challenges that make life difficult, those plans suddenly become priceless.

Don’t be afraid to plan for the what if’s in life, just don’t unpack and camp out there. Make room for tomorrow, but live today!

MS Gets on My NervesMS WarriorMS Superhero  

About the Author
About the Author
Penelope Conway

Penelope Conway
Penelope started Positive Living with MS as a way to help others with MS stay positive in the midst of a terrible disease. She believes that staying positive and holding onto hope is the key to waking up each morning with the strength to get through the day. Multiple Sclerosis may never go away, but neither will her determination and her drive to help others through the journey.

15 replies
  1. Doug Wineburner
    Doug Wineburner says:

    nice article Penelope I plan things out the best I can I’ve lost both mom and dad so just brother and me at home he works and is always busy so I just sit herein my chair and go out when I can. I still getting my therapy and my 1 brother usually runs me to wal mart on a Tuesday my therapist has been great and took me out on a Thursday or sat also so that helps, otherwise I just work on my puzzles that I post on facebook and do what I can.

  2. Pixie Boris says:

    Yes, I like to plan things out . It seems to give me some sense of what I’m doing. Things don’t always follow my plans tho-life- lol
    My next place will be stair free as I can clearly see I’m moving the direction of one level living

  3. Judy
    Judy says:

    Hi! Penelope, I love your writing; it cheers me. Not that I’m down – I rarely am. I love the Keys to Staying Positive at the bottom. Thanks! xxoo

  4. Barbara
    Barbara says:

    Thank you Penelope for your words of wisdom. I have to start thinking in this direction in order to move on with my life. God Bless you

  5. Robert Krone says:

    Good article, as usual. Luckily with my MS being labeled as service-connected, I don’t need to worry about financial things as much. I still make sure to automatically put money away in savings every month just in case something pops up.

  6. Rodger Ashton-Smith
    Rodger Ashton-Smith says:

    That’s very goo thought Penelope. When we plan we are making a future for us an leaving some of the past behind. But also sometimes things will come to you and then it’s your choice what to o with it. I am in a ‘limbo’ at the moment and I’m not sure what will come next so I plan to study the ‘thing’ before final commitment.
    Hey there’s something I realise recently; I value our relationship more than money.I could get a disability income from the source of all the programs from WINZ (Work & Income new Zealand) but I was turned down because Janice gets too much from ACC for her problems and they can’t see that two seriously sick people can live together.I would have to divorce her to get payment. Now for a so called ‘family orriant’ group they sure don’t show it.
    This is one of the things we are planning to work at. We have other choices but until Janice is well again all has been put on hold

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