Living with chronic illness, I have found myself so often trying to fight my way upstream, forcing myself to make that 80 mile round trip to see friends at the lake or that 40 mile round trip to get together with someone over pizza (which makes me sick anyway so why am I eating it?).
The answer is that I didn't want anything in my life to change. I didn't want autoimmune disorders & blood disorders & chronic pain to rule my life but by swimming upstream and trying to fight the changes, I was in effect, completely inviting these illnesses, this pain, this difficulty, to almost completely rule my life.
Everything we do has consequences and those can be good or those can be bad but when I was trying to force a life that made me sick & tired & in pain & often hospitalized or immobile, I was saying,These consequences are okay because I can pretend that nothing has changed during those moments when I'm doing the things I used to do.
And it sounds crazy but I'm glad I did that for a little while. It allowed me to transition more slowly into the current, it allowed me a little more time to make peace and make memories but now I see where the river of life is leading me and I'm at peace with letting that phase of my life go. This new one is just as beautiful, perhaps more beautiful, because I know myself better, I love myself more and my actions in life and toward myself and my body are more loving & peaceful.
If you're wondering whether you're off course or swimming upstream in a part of your life, there's a really simple way to find out. Just ask yourself this: Am I getting anywhere?
If you're at a place with your career or your friendships or homelife or your dreams in general where you're working your behind into the ground but not getting anywhere, take a moment and ask yourself how your gut really feels about this path. It might be that you just need a little more time & in that case, remember the old saying, Don't leave before the miracle happens.
But it may also, and quite likely, be that you're headed in the wrong direction or you're in the wrong place. Close your eyes and imagine what it would be to stop pushing this rock uphill and see what your life could feel or look like. I bet you just took in a breath and it felt good.
Dreams change, relationships change, career plans change, it all changes. Find a way to be at peace with that through seeing where you truly want to go and start putting your energy in that direction. Once you're flowing with the current, life gets easier, less complicated, and you can enjoy the stunning view along the banks, the feel of the water on your skin, you can enjoy this phase in your life and be at peace with the ones before this one.
It's been a somewhat painful transition in my life & I've had to learn to say no and let go of a lot of things that I've wanted to say yes to and keep but I'm finally starting to feel more at peace with my choices.
They say that as you move toward your 30s, you find that you have less quantity of people & things in your life, and more quality. I've noticed that is becoming true. The people who have come to float along with me in this peaceful river are beautiful souls. The things I have in my life are fewer but they mean more to me. I want, and have less junk, we send a car full of stuff to The local resale store at least once a month (or try to), we are planning a big yard sale, something I've never had to do.
We take fewer trips & go out to eat less, we turn down more offers to do things and as much as that early 20s/pre-illness woman in me still wants to take every adventure, I've come to realize that my life as a whole is an adventure, I don't need to explore every stream, literally, to feel happy and fulfilled.
I hope that today you are able to take a moment of silence in the chaos and feel within you what parts of your life, if any, you are swimming upstream. Maybe you're floating happily with the current and if so I tip my hat to you. But if there are any pieces in your life that seem amiss, I hope you're able to really explore why that is and see if maybe something about that needs to change.
Not everything is meant to be easy but you know in your heart when something is way too hard. Change course, find your path, and let it wash over you.
Lots of Love,
Disabling illness can often make us feel invisible and when friends or family members, for whatever reason, stop inviting us to live life with them, it is really painful and everyone involved can end up missing out on a lot of fun memories. So unless the person you love has asked you specifically to take them off the invite list for certain activities, just go on as if nothing has changed and allow the person with the disability to make the decision about attending. Let them feel included and that way when inevitably the get together or trip or event comes up, they can say, Oh yeah, how was that? Rather than, Oh really, I would have loved to do that! And you as a friend can keep as many memories alive as possible and enjoy each other's company for years to come.
And if you're reading this thinking, Oh no, I thought I was being nice by not inviting someone when I felt sure they wouldn't be able to make it, don't kick yourself or feel badly at all (and if you know me personally, know that this isn't at all personal, it's just something I've learned along the way and knew I need to share with anyone who loves someone with chronic illness).
There's a steep learning curve for everyone involved when someone you love is diagnosed with chronic illness. We all make a lot of mistakes along the way and I'm sure the person you love is trying to figure out how to negotiate this process just as much as you are and kicking themselves for having to miss certain events that were really important to you. This is a tough process and as long as everybody keeps communicating and treating each other with love, there's no reason that a loved one moving downstream in their lives means that you have to be left behind.
Love and hugs to you and yours in this process