Enjoy Your Stay

My family and I are on vacation this week. 

With scheduling conflicts, the kid’s sporting events, work commitments, and family obligations it’s been a vacation two years in the making.

And though the promise of a vacation once got me excited, I’ll be honest with you–- “vacation” is a word, like “snakes” and “needles” and “pus” that makes me uncomfortable.

It may sound silly, but “vacation” now instigates anxiety and fear in me. As if my brain disease thumbs Zinc Oxide across its nose, dons a Panama hat, takes the wheel, rolls down the window, presses the pedal, and races towards the sweet escapes of Ohshitsville.

Weeks before vacation, my mind began its usual tumbling routine: Will the vacation be handicap accessible? Will there be activities for me to do there? Will I be the reason my family won’t be able to experience joy and relaxation? Does our vacation have staircases? Do those staircases have railings? Is it a walk-in or will I have to climb a Mayan Ruin to take a shower? How far is the nearest hospital?

Will there be a suitable place for me to write there? 

If anxiety is fueled by inaction, then worrying about “things” instead of doing “things” is the quickest way to experience mental and physical paralysis.

If Bedtime Stories for the Living was about grieving my “old life” and immortalizing the past, then Ordinary Hero is about building the courage and character to accept my “new life.” Accepting my brain disease. Accepting the need to learn new skills and strategies to navigate this disabled life. Accepting that even though a disability may change how I vacation, my disability should not prevent my family and I from experiencing the joys of a vacation.

Accepting change requires us to let go of our attachments to our “old life.” It may mean trying new things or even stepping out of our comfort zone. It may mean redefining old words, like “vacation.” But by accepting this change, we embrace new possibilities, new experiences that may enrich our lives and may even help us enjoy our stay in Ohshitsville.

Be well,


Greetings to everyone who found me on the University of Pennsylvania’s Ataxia Clinic’s website! Thanks for stopping by. I have ataxia and though I’m not a doctor, I hope my words comfort, encourage, empower, and serve as good company on your journey.


July Book Promos for You:

Are looking for inspiration? Are you searching for a better version of yourself?

This month I joined literary forces with some best-selling authors in two awesome book promotions. Click the link below:

Finding Freedom, Building Your Best Life

Buy Here!

Recent letters you may enjoy:

Life is Change

Adversity Also Builds This

The Most Painful Letter I’ve Ever Written to You


Jay Armstrong is a speaker and an award-winning author. Despite being diagnosed with a rare neurological disease, that impairs his movement, balance, eyesight, and speech–Jay presses on. The leader of the Philadelphia Ataxia Support Group, 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 or a drink with his friends)

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

You can also visit Jay at jayarmstrongwrites.com

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