It was the simple, yet elegant, description that Clay Walker evoked in reference to the New Year. His decades-long career is poised to take a new, creative twist; Mr. Walker feels wholly and deliriously inspired.

But “inspired” does not, by any means, solely describe his music. While it’s true that Mr Walker has been plucking inspiration from an array of worthy muses, one of his most salient inspirations continues to be his personal journey with multiple sclerosis. And to that end, Mr. Walker has every reason to feel inspired.

“When I was diagnosed in 1996, the doctor told me that I wouldn’t live long. I didn’t like that doctor,” he laughed.

Indeed, Mr. Walker sought to create his own path, one that radically deviated from expectation. He wanted only to live his life without interruption—MS be damned. And this could be the most inspiring segment of Mr. Walker’s story; he forged his own path and absolutely refused to allow MS to defeat him. Was it easy? Of course not. As all MS fighters know excruciatingly well, a life that is shared with MS is never an easy or predictable one. But we are not powerless.

“I had to condition my mind,”Mr. Walker said. “I had to conquer it mentally. I made a rule: MS was prohibited in my bedroom. That was, and continues to be, a place that’s reserved exclusively for family. MS is not welcomed there. It took a long time and a lot of practice, but eventually I was able to condition my mind to the point where I had created an MS-free space. It gave me a lot of peace.”

The peace of mind has done a great deal for Mr. Walker. Just over 20 years ago, his prognosis was bleak…his life seemed all but over. Now, in 2017, he surrounds himself with his loving family who fill his life with great love and support. His music career is more vibrant than ever with a new album forthcoming. Most significantly, Mr. Walker is enjoying the glowing rewards of good health. He credits his continued success in fighting MS to a combination of effective disease-modifying treatment, and adhering to a healthy diet and lifestyle. Mr. Walker continues to draw inspiration from the MS community; specifically from meeting MS patients and inspiring them to forge their own paths with the disease. It is what we make it.

And that’s inspiring.

Frashier Baudry