12 declarations I told myself this week

1.In the end, the little things you do every day define your life.

2.Mistakes make the best teachers.

3.Imagine yourself quitting. Imagine yourself persevering. Which image do you prefer? Which image would your kids prefer?

4.Action silences doubt.

5.Be patient. Difficult things take time.

6.Instead of worrying about “what ifs” focus on “what is.”

7.If you compare yourself to others, you will only disappoint yourself.

8.Courage is having the coconuts to try again tomorrow.

9. Despite everything, forgive yourself.

10.We choose how to react to the things that happen to us.

11. Accept the truth and move on.

12.You have a better chance of toughening yourself than softening the world.

Be well,


P.S. I wrote the above list for myself. Yes, that might sound selfish but lately I’ve been struggling with the emotional and physical difficulties of life with cerebellar atrophy. Physically, I’m changing (and not in the washboard abs way). My voice is becoming more strained, more gargled. I worry a lot about talking. In fact, just thinking about talking gives me anxiety. I worry the listener won’t understand my words and will just nod and smile and will suddenly “have to go to the bathroom.”

Also, my dependency on Clark Able is growing. Which is fine. I like him. He is sturdy, loyal, and quiet. But he also reminds me that my independence is fleeting and that, whether or not we choose to accept it, we can not do life alone.

I’m learning that happiness and self-acceptance go hand-in-hand. As long as we refuse to accept our weaknesses, happiness and self-acceptance will always elude us.

This week my self-talk was more negative, more critical, more self-defeating than usual. I’ve lamented what I can no longer physically do and how cerebellar atrophy has forced me, albeit reluctantly, to redefine myself. It wasn’t until I sat down and began writing those declarations that I then shut off the strobe lights to my lame pity party.

And so I wanted to share these twelve declarations, hoping they might help you too. My intention was that these would be clear, ungargled, declarations I could rely on when I need assurance. When I need to be reminded of the power of self-acceptance. When I need to find happiness again.

If you like this post, you may also like:

An excerpt from the book: Bowling with God


Maggie May and the Hamburger Incident 


Playing Small Ball


The Get Up; Part 2


A scene from my first neurology appointment 


Need some encouragement? Some perspective? This hardworking, almost-handsome, suburban soccer dad can help. Subscribe and, like a pizza, get my posts delivered to your door (your email inbox). No spam. Just posts.


Jay Armstrong is a writer, speaker, and a former award-winning high school English teacher. Despite being diagnosed with a rare neurological disease, that impairs his movement, balance, eyesight, and speech–Jay presses on. He hopes to help you find joy, peace, and meaning in life. For Jay, a good day consists of 5 things:

1. Reading
2. Writing 
3. Exercising
4. Hearing his three children laugh
5. Hugging his wife
(Bonus points for a dinner with his parents and a beer with his friends)

Jay hasn’t had a bad day in quite a long time. 

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