Chronic Snarkopolist: Grand Adventure
I have always described myself as a low risk tolerant person. I do not gamble and do not enjoy Vegas. I don’t even play poker because I don’t like handing over plastic chips. I’d rather stack them up and organize them into neat piles. Low risk tolerance is NOT easy when you are chronically ill. In fact, chronic illness is one big cluster fuck of adventure and risk and learning to cope with high ambiguity.
Perhaps for these reasons I prefer low risk in all other areas of my life. Meanwhile – nothing about health is a sure thing except what we know to be true – weight and food and exercise and positive attitude all contribute to better outcomes. But throw in all our jacked of thyroids and prednisone, secondary illnesses caused by medically necessary drugs and treatments and some of what we know goes out the window. Weight gets hard to maintain no matter how healthy we are or how well intentioned our lifestyle.
Still – pondering joy and love and all the big things in life I’m wondering – does anything ever stop us from fully living life? Something I’ve noticed is people either participate in life or they don’t. They wallow or they live. And often we swing back and forth. I know I do.
Mostly we are fueled by a powerful place of curiosity and wondering what is next. Sometimes we are terrified and dread. For me there is only really LOVE and FEAR. I can allow my life to be guided by one or the other. And sometimes I am overwhelmed by darkness and have to allow it to overwhelm me for a bit and hold on.
And something powerful always happens – ALWAYS HAPPENS- just when I’m at the bottom – love- LOVE SHOWERS ME and I float back again. If I could express to you how much love came to me from the tidal wave – friends reaching to me – gifts, letters, cards, phone calls, people LISTENING TO ME, special people being kind. And even just rare strange things like a celebrity drawing a costume sketch for me- all these things build up to delight me and bring me joy. And JOY is something I need to fuel my grand adventure.
We all need this in our life. We need to feel like life is worth living; like we have connections. Like we can reach out and touch each other, laugh, find meaning. And I know during my most sad and despairing moments I feel that nothing is further from the truth. And when I am my most joyful I believe the very trees reach out and the leaves and branches point me on my path.
Somehow we all seek to participate in life – to engage each other and the process of living. We are all here doing our best. Most of us, often feel like we are constantly sacrificing ourselves for others. Especially women and more sensitive men – feel we are giving pieces of ourselves away so others can live happily. And we wake up one day and say WHERE IS MY GRAND ADVENTURE? WHY IS THERE NOTHING FOR ME? WHERE DID I GO?
And I’m here to tell you – this is your life. This now is your place of freedom! This is your place of beginning! This breath is yours! Take it! You can never count on anything – not even your next breath – but we never stop to be grateful for our breath – we just count on it coming and going except those of us who have labored breathing. We never stop to count on our hearts beating except those of us who have implanted heart valves. We never stop to consider our hormones until we take synthetic or additional amounts to regulate ours and know what it feels like when ours are out of balance. We never consider what it feels like when our bodies do not function until ours no longer do.
And the crazy thing is- THIS IS OUR GRAND ADVENTURE. This is our journey. The greatest freedom in life is the one where you stop being afraid of life or death. And that is our great contradiction. Living our best life with joy and fullness becomes the purpose and the goal. And I’m working on it. I’m working on living IN THIS MOMENT and sharing it and being grateful and giving it back to the people I meet along the way.
What grand adventure are you on? Are you there? Have you made it? Did you set out breadcrumbs? Do you live in joy? Can you have joy and still feel pain and fear? Are they contradictory? How do you navigate all your human emotions? How do you find freedom in your life? What is freedom? Tell me! I must know!
I’ll see you next week same place same time! Kiss kiss!
Tags: chronic illness adventures, Chronic Snarkopolist Written by Melissa Travis, coping with ambiguity, coping with chronic illness, finding beauty and hope in chronic illness, managing chronic conditions, managing chronic illness, pondering joy when chronically ill