For the past 10 years I have marveled at what each year has bought us. I have always tended to reflect on these things and wonder how and why they happen. But then it dawned on me…
With each new year we will never know what is coming or who will enter our lives, for better or worse. There is no end to the possibilities of what can and will happen. That’s just life.
This year a challenging and difficult person and situation reminded me what, at this age, I was willing to endure and accept. It surprised me some of the answers that came to me and how quickly they came. Especially now.
Despite being ill and having a decreased circle of friends, I realized I didn’t have to accept just anyone or anything. In fact I feel even more confident that I would prefer to have very few people in my life and yet have more quality relationships.
I had thought for awhile that I needed to accept anything that came my way because my health and abilities were compromised. I realize how ridiculous this logic is and how detrimental it is.
The longer I have been ill the more I have come to value the peace and enjoyment I can get from quality relationships with people and myself. How important it is that relationships aren’t feeling like a burden or one sided.
If I start to doubt where I stand, feel the pressure of demands and requirements on my time and health, feel stressed or not valued then alarm bells will start to sound off. That is my inner voice telling me it’s time to let go. And I listen.
There really is no way of knowing what will happen from year to year. Some years we have struggled financially. Some years we have struggled physically. Some years we have struggled emotionally. Unforeseen things come along to test us and make us work harder to cope and this will never stop until we die.
If we are waiting for life to improve or become less taxing we run the risk of missing life entirely. I once read that life is complete chaos. I agree it is almost completely chaotic but there are some other important things too, like love, peace, laughter, inspiration, creativity, learning and joy.
Those moments are precious no matter how healthy, rich, smart and able we may be.
I feel like life has always tested my coping skills and most times I felt I was failing. But when I look back on what I have coped with, endured and learned from I can’t help but marvel.
I have known a lot of people who, when I speak to them, will spend almost the entire time talking and focusing on themselves and their needs, never really interested in what I may think or have experienced, I used to put up with those people but now I don’t feel the requirement to do so.
I used to feel disappointments, injustices and rudeness so deeply and for a long time, now I am far more resilient. They come and then they go just as quickly. I used to feel the constant pressure to be perfect or be better and better at everything… now I realize that I don’t have to conform and chase such unrealistic ideals anymore.
Has all this growth and understanding come because I have been so ill? I like to think it has been instrumental in me being able to master these things. It has certainly contributed a great deal. There always seems to be some good in almost every situation.
My relationship with myself and my husband has grown and strengthened during the years that my autoimmune diseases have taken over a lot of my life and abilities, and I am more surprised and grateful than I can ever express.
At this time of my life I am better able to see what really matters and use that as a compass for coping with whatever and whoever comes along, and that is something that I am most proud of.