Would You Choose Another Path?

Would You Choose Another Path?
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Usually, as the year comes to a close, we turn our attention to resolutions. It’s often a reflective time, when the prior year’s events and actions come under scrutiny. The most common resolution usually has something to do with health and fitness. But 2020 is far and away a different sort of year.

Earlier this week, an article in The New Yorker titled “What If You Could Do It All Over?” popped into my news feed. It was written by ideas editor Joshua Rothman.

Rothman’s writing is exquisite in that it offers a way of examining one’s past without the recrimination we often cast upon ourselves — those niggling thoughts, those pounds we didn’t lose, that marathon we didn’t run. His focus is more on what we did.

Rothman highlights the paradox of where we started and how we came to be where we are today. In all of us, there can be a sense of wonder (healthy, not critical) about the “what-ifs” that did not come to take place. There are, of course, many reasons we find ourselves in our current spot.

One question we all tumble into during the dark days of winter, which are perhaps the darkest of our lives, is, “Would I have wanted a different path?” If so, “What will this new direction be — and do I have any control over it?”

This conversation often takes place quietly among hemophilia friends. Would we want to be rid of the diagnosis, or perhaps its ugly symptoms and daunting management? Naturally, we all want our family and friends to be free of that which binds them to pain and suffering, but quietly, we may wonder if or when our situations could be much worse.

The path of bleeding disorders is often a rocky scramble to a peak that looms only in the distance. But the diagnosis is not a path we chose — it found us through the wonders of genetics. Unlike Robert Frost, choose another trail to see what happens. We are on the course covered in leaves, new and old, and we’re pretty well set; it is the backdrop of our lives.

Would we choose a different way forward if we could? Perhaps. But consider the losses as well in doing so — the circle of friends that understand and support us and would otherwise never be part of our lives. The rich, generous souls that give, even when they, too, are depleted.

So, perhaps as this most difficult of years comes to a close, we all might ask ourselves not whether we would choose a different path, but what part of our path has yet to be explored.

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Note: Hemophilia News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Hemophilia News Today or its parent company, BioNews, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to hemophilia.

Ann is an English professor and freelance writer with strong ties to the bleeding disorders community. She believes that advocacy is an essential skill for all connected to rare diseases; and that together, we have the power to impact and lead change by sharing our individual and collective stories, whether to meet personal needs with our medical providers or through involvement in policy work and legislation.
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Ann is an English professor and freelance writer with strong ties to the bleeding disorders community. She believes that advocacy is an essential skill for all connected to rare diseases; and that together, we have the power to impact and lead change by sharing our individual and collective stories, whether to meet personal needs with our medical providers or through involvement in policy work and legislation.
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