It’s a question I ask myself often. And I’m sure you do, too. Everyone does at some point.
Life before RA. It’s a little harder for me to remember since I’ve had it so long now and because I was so young when I was diagnosed. But I still have some memories of being able to run and jump and of having bounds and bounds of energy. I remember playing the drums and it not hurting.
That’s really the hardest for thing for me, in all honesty. I know I would’ve pursued drums further without RA. When I found out I had it (at 15), being the best I could be at my instrument dropped from my mind. Being the best turned into make it through my high school’s band program. Learn enough to be the best at my school so I could be drum line captain. And if I can make it to that, suffer just enough to achieve that goal, I’d hang up my sticks.
And so I did. Now that I’m in college and no longer a part of band, it really sucks. It didn’t at first, for some reason. I enjoyed listening to the Razorback Marching Band from my dorm room at the University of Arkansas. I’d try to sit as close as I could to the band at games. But I guess it wasn’t hard because it was my freshman year. The memories of high school were still fresh.
I’m a junior now, and I haven’t gone to a football game in a long time. I could hear Henderson’s drumline play at a game one night from my apartment. The cadence they were playing was very similar to one from my high school, and after hearing it a couple times I could play the song by tapping my feet.
It’s enough to make one really, REALLY sad if they think about it too long. But we can’t. Fact of that matter is, we have this disease, and in some strange way it plays a part in God’s plan for us.
Without RA, I probably wouldn’t be a writer. Looking around as I type this, I have almost 25 articles hanging up on my apartment walls from working on my school’s newspaper. I’m an editor this year, and over the summer I was an editor of my school’s magazine as well. We’re taking several trips for media conferences, we have contests we can enter, and I’ve made so many incredibly gifted, awesome friends. So many doors are open to me now that I’m pursuing a career in writing, and its all so exciting to me.
I’ll never know what my life could have been like. But, at the end of the day, I’m not sure that I would want to.