It’s been 14 months (almost to the day as of this writing) that I got sick. That is 423 days, or one year, one month, and 28 days. That’s A LOT of days. And, frankly, I have had periods where I didn’t update the blog at all. Not because I lacked news, but simply because I feel like a bore.
The only interesting things that happened to me in the last 423 days just about all relate to my illness. I feel like I’ve run out of interesting things to say, or that I sound like I just complain about life constantly.
I recently shared a post about learning to mourn yourself. It never occurred to me that it would ever be a problem I would face in my lifetime. In fact, even now, I often lose track of that feeling until I am suddenly blindsided by something innocuous.
I watched a documentary about a few of the palaces and castles in England the other day. (Innocuous.) And I found myself daydreaming of our trip to Europe a few years ago and my longing to return at the first chance we have.
Then I remember that I can’t fly. I can barely walk across a parking lot, let alone wander downtown London as we did last time. No tours of castles in my near future because I have to be able to travel. I would be unable to take a flight that long.
Suddenly my heart hurt.
It hurt in a way that caused my eyes to water and my mind to frantically try to find a way to make that false. But I can’t imagine my way into a healthy, able body. I simply have to keep fighting to make my way back to some normalcy. And there is no guarantee that I ever will.
So, in a moment of pain, heartache, and missing what I never knew I could miss, I realized that the problem isn’t my health, my legs, the travel, or anything else other than my attitude.
I can choose to be sad, lonely, isolated, and generally lamenting over a life that I got to live for an amazing 30 years… Or I can be thankful that I had 30 AMAZING years!
Sure there was heartache, sadness, breakups, loss, pain, injury, and hurt. But there was a wedding where I married a man I love more than life. I got to dance our first dance and walk down that aisle in front of everyone I love in the world.
I ran a Tough Mudder. I lay on the floor and played with my dogs when they were puppies. I decorated a house. I helped remodel that house. I survived a rough deployment when my husband was overseas in combat. I graduated top of my class.
I took walking tours in Europe. I saw three countries, flew across an ocean, visited castles lived in by kings and queens and saw Monet paintings in person in the Louver. I got a picture in front of the Mona Lisa.
In 30 years, I crossed a lot of items off my bucket list.
So maybe the next 30 years won’t be the same. Who knows if I’ll ever run another Tough Mudder. Maybe I’ll never make it over another ocean in a plane. Maybe some of those other things on the bucket list won’t happen. But I can make a new bucket list.
I can add walking my first consecutive mile to that list. I can dream new things to achieve.
I had 30 pretty great years that allowed me to do so many things. Things I took for granted. Things it never occurred to me were things that could be taken away.
We all take things for granted. We can choose to be bitter in life when those things go away. We can be angry at the world. We can blame others, our health… my legs, my illness, my anything for all that I will miss and all that I can’t have. And there are a lot of people who choose that path.
I’m choosing to let it go.
I’m letting go of who I was, who I thought I’d be and all I thought I’d do. I’m letting go of the anger, the frustration, the hurt; the pain in my heart when I feel like I’m losing something new (or that I hadn’t thought of before). I’m choosing to set new goals and to build new dreams.
Europe will still be standing. Australia will still be a world away. So, I choose to focus on my world as it is now.
I am a new me. Not many people get the chance to truly start over. To truly redesign their life and make something completely new. I have been given the opportunity to start from scratch. And I’m going to do something amazing with that. Even if it’s as simple as walking that first consecutive mile.