If you’re like me, you probably have a few songs that you listen to for specific reasons. Whether it’s for sports, meditation, work, etc. there’s a song for everything. “UCLA” by RL Grime gets put on when I need to be taken back to my favorite place in the world; Keuka Lake. The memories and lessons I’ve learned there have helped me better manage my epilepsy while taking on life in general. I hope this piece puts a little perspective on how I manage my epilepsy, and the mindset I’m trying to develop for my life moving forward.
As a little kid, I spent numerous summers with my cousins and friends at the lake playing games. Whether it was an intense game of capture the flag or a water balloon war, it was always a competition. Why bring this up? I truly think doing this while having epilepsy showed me that I could hold my own. Even though I was beating my cousins, it was the aspect of gaining confidence to take on challenges despite my epilepsy. I felt comfortable knowing family was there, but I knew it was preparing me for what was coming in the years ahead.
Speaking of challenges, being at the lake has allowed me to take on challenges and risks outside of my daily battle with epilepsy. From tearing it up on the jetski to being a showoff on the tube, I do things that give me a little freedom that I don’t really get at home. While I have pushed my limits too far at times, it’s those experiences that teach me what my boundaries are and when I need to be careful. I like to push my limits, and I’m grateful for my family that step in to tell me when to take a step back if needed.
As I ride the jetski, I really push my limits. From doing my famous donuts in front of the restaurants to racing other jetskis, I tend to forget about my medical stuff out there. Should I slow down? What if I have one? Should I ride with someone? These questions all go away once I hit the throttle. We all tend to think of the worst case scenario in pretty much everything. Yes, I could have a seizure on the jetski, but I can’t control that. Honestly, I’d rather have one on the jetski having fun than on the beach confining myself.
So, from gaining the confidence I needed to take on challenges to pushing my limits despite my epilepsy, it all has happened at one of the most beautiful places on Earth. I encourage you to put that song on that takes you to your favorite place, and see how much you really can do despite having epilepsy.