There’s that old saying about how when one door closes, another opens. The original quote by Alexander Graham Bell is, “When one door closes another door opens, but we so often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door, that we do not see the ones which open for us.”
Well, that one has been dumbed down over the years.
It’s an old proverb, but it remains true. For me, this quote strikes a special chord when I think about its relevance to having SMA. I’ve lost numerous abilities over the course of my life because of my SMA, most of which have been extremely difficult to cope with. Yet for every ability I’ve lost, I’ve gained a few.
Like most adolescents of my generation, I played way too many video games in middle and high school. Between “Call of Duty,” “Batman: Arkham Asylum,” “Star Wars: The Force Unleashed,” and “The Godfather: The Game” (yes, that was a thing), much of my free time in those days consisted of blowing stuff up, hunting down the last of the Jedi, and building my virtual Mafia empire.
Eventually, though, my muscle deterioration made it too difficult for me to properly hold my PlayStation controller and press all of the buttons. By the time I was in my late teens, the simple act of playing video games became too physically demanding for me, to the point that it just wasn’t worth the effort.
By that point, losing physical abilities was nothing new to me. But what I didn’t expect was that my inability to continue this particular pastime would pave the way for something better.
Playing video games is one of the most addicting and time-consuming hobbies. Heck, some people even play them for a living as members of the Major League Gaming (MLG) Corp. I knew that losing the ability to play would free up a lot of my time, and it has.
Quitting video games means more time to read, write, socialize, watch movies, walk my dog, and see more of the outside world in general. Before I quit gaming, I hadn’t realized just how many hours I spent in front of a TV screen immersed in my virtual worlds. All in all, my productivity level skyrocketed once I stopped gaming.
Now, I’m not saying video games are a total waste of time. Anyone who reads my columns knows how much of a nerd I am and that I’m deeply seeped into geek culture. I have friends who are big-time gamers, and I love that companies like Microsoft are developing adaptive equipment for gamers with disabilities.
For me, though, losing this particular ability opened all kinds of other doors. In the last year alone, I’ve written multiple comic book scripts, recorded dozens of podcasts, moderated panels at comic cons, and worked full-time here at BioNews. Losing a physical ability because of a degenerative condition like SMA is rough, but it’s not the end of the world.
How do you adapt to physical changes? Discuss it in the SMA News Today forums.
Note: SMA 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 other 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 SMA News Today, or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to spinal muscular atrophy.