Playing hooky like I did the past week is sometimes the best thing a person can do for themselves if they're less than OK. For far too long I've pushed when I should have pulled back and sat down for a while. It's easier to look for the Awesome when I'm not fighting myself.
Today I woke up as I did the past few days -- horribly awfully in pain, hands and voice shaking so badly I couldn't put socks on. I haven't been able to read or write or anything much at all lately and it's all thanks to the ups and downs of Lyme disease (bleh). As I lay in bed last night, trying to think of calming things to help me go to sleep, I thought about changing my life goals.
Knowing me the way I know me, this would normally not be a happy thing to think about, and certainly not an Awesome thing. I am determined, however, to find something good out of the traditionally bad. It's become part of my healing process.
When you're in the midst of Awful, thinking of Awesome is often pushed to the bottom of the heap of things that must be done that day. Lately I have been trying to put it at the top of the list. I figure if I only have the strength to do one or two things in a day, one of them at least should be good, right?
I never thought I'd be able to do this, but when faced with a life-changing disease, I've got to make life-changing decisions. I've spent far too long trying to make it to some end point, as in, "I'll be able to be back to normal by Christmas". Now, I'm deciding that's foolish and futile, not to mention frustrating, so instead I've tried to embrace setting new goals. I've made three new goals which I think will help me stay more in the Happy Space and less in the Crappy Space.
Goal #1 :: Family First
All my life, pretty much, my work ethic has been strong. I've pushed myself hard and I've been fortunate to achieve a lot of things this way. It's easy when you're excited about a new job or a new project or a new idea to spend hours working on it, babying it, bringing it to fruition, but right now I have no business making huge work plans. I've decided to put these things to the back burner and spend as much of my out-of-bed-time with my family.
This past week, I felt pretty lousy, but it was a lot easier to ignore while watching a movie or playing a game with Zack and Rick. I will never regret family time. There will be time enough later for throwing myself head-first into new projects.
Goal #2 :: Read Things That Matter
Illness has made my eyesight kind of loopy. Some days I can't focus on words and everything is blurry. Because of that, I now make better decisions about what I read when I CAN see. I'm spending less time reading junk online or celebrity magazines and more time reading things I can mark off my to-read list. I pared down my magazine list and now only get one and that one helps me learn about world events rather than what dress the latest celebrity was wearing. Decreasing my browsing time and turning it into reading time -- not a bad goal, and not bad results, either.
Goal #3 :: Heal From the Inside Out
I've discovered it's just as important to heal my mind as it is to heal my body. One of the interesting oxymorons of Lyme disease is I am absolutely exhausted all the time but I'm completely unable to get to sleep. I've started taking that awake-in-the-middle-of-the-night time and turning it into reflection time. Instead of asking myself "why is this happening to me?", I've tried (tried!) to think about why this could be a good thing.
Bad things happen to good people. No matter if you prescribe to a particular faith or belief system, understanding why this happens can be a really difficult task. I've decided to give up asking "why" and have tried (tried!) to accept it and find the good in it. Some days it's a heck of a lot harder than others, but all I have to do is turn to look at my bedside table to find something good.
On my night stand are four journals (one for Zack to read at a later date, one question-to-answer-a-day book, one list-yourself book, and one five-year journal with a few lines a day to write) and the 7th Harry Potter. The journals remind me to remember things, to write things down for posterity, and to search myself so my future is better. With only a few lines a day to write, I make the most of them. And the Harry Potter book reminds me that Zack still loves me to read to him, and when I focus on these things, the problems seem to fade into the background and the NOW is more in front of me.
|I love elephants.|
It's OK to re-order our priorities and goals from time to time. Necessary, I dare say. I know that I'm much calmer about facing down demons than I ever have been. It's an incredibly awesome feeling to know this, to know that change can be good, and good can come from bad.
(I hope this makes sense! Comment below if you like and tell me other ways to set new goals and refocus -- what works for you?)
Lori Anderson creates jewelry and bead kits as well as collaborative mixed media art with her son, Zack. Visit her shops by clicking on the right side bar of this blog (please and thank you!). She is also the creator of the Bead Soup Blog Party® and author of the book "Bead Soup" via Kalmbach Publishing.