As the end draws near it has become obvious to me that changes are needed. It’s time to move the goalposts.
Moving the goalposts (or shifting the goalposts) is a metaphor, derived from goal-based sports, that means to change the criterion (goal) of a process or competition while it is still in progress, in such a way that the new goal offers one side an advantage or disadvantage.
Goals? I’m dying. What goals do I have?
Each day is a challenge, yes, but each day has goals, objectives, a need to accomplish something other than just sit and wait for my wife to feed me.
ALS is a progressive disease but sometimes comes with plateaus where the ongoing degradation of muscle control seems to slow down to a crawl and even appear to stop. I have yet to have that luxury and I can understand why some with ALS would not appreciate that extra torture.
It’s time to move the goalposts because daily objectives keep me going but some of those objectives can no longer be met. For example, until late last year I would go for a ride every day. That required walking to the car, driving around, then walking from the car to home.
I cannot walk now and cannot breathe without ventilator use for more than a couple of dozen minutes at a time. That’s just not enough time to do a daily ride in the car. The goalposts needed to be moved. Thanks to YouTube videos and a 4K TV I can walk through London or Tokyo or view tourist destinations in Italy, China, or Texas.
OK, maybe not Texas.
When an objective can no longer be met then it’s game over or there is a need to modify the objectives, or to move the goalposts down the field.
For example, I used to run each morning and my daily goal was to hit 4,000 exercise steps and get heart rate up to 90-percent of maximum for my age. The goalposts needed to be moved. I can’t run but I can use an exercise bike on my lap and still get 4,000 steps each day.
What about heart rate?
Sorry. That specific goal cannot be reached anymore but I can get the heart rate up by moving to the upright exercise bike and pedaling for a couple of minutes at a time. That results in better breathing because the heart— far less affected by ALS than legs or arms or diaphragm— gets some much needed exercise.
I could go on with more examples but the idea is simple. Moving goalposts has a negative connotation but can be positive, too.