I exist in a constant state of doing my best under the given circumstances and sometimes, the circumstances seem damn impossible. I live with a painful condition that affects my joints, which is manageable (a sometimes generous term), not fixable. Looking back to when I didn’t have adequate treatment options, I think, “Well that wasn’t a good couple of years.” I still have rough weeks and even months at times.
Life is a journey and while we carry the burden of personal and societal expectations to check off milestones, these expectations are not a given, they cannot be controlled, forced or willed to happen. This uncertainty can feel debilitating, especially for young adults. Get married, have kids, go get a killer job, be successful, get/stay in shape, travel, the list goes on. From an outsider’s prospective, it’s easy to see that this list can’t be forced, yet intrinsically, these perceived benchmarks are serious hotspots for stress.
My hotspot has always been my health. My fitness goals have long been
limited (I hate that word) directed (I don’t know if that’s better) by my body. Last year, I had another health issue creep up. Early in 2016, I saw my doctor for a checkup, because I’m now in my thirties, so it’s time to start adulting right? Surprise!
High blood pressure. As a nurse, hypertension never seemed like that big of a deal, everyone has high blood pressure. I spent several months running through a few different meds in search of the right medication and dose. I wasted a lot of time feeling dizzy and short of breath before I found the right one in October. I felt great! Better than ever! We did some traveling, work always gets busy toward the end of the year and before I knew it, BAM was December. Where did 2016 go and why was I embarking on the holiday season 10lbs heavier than normal and completely out of shape? Obviously, I was not going to lose weight on the cookies and champagne holiday diet.
I drank the champagne anyway! Do you know why? I found the right medication, so I will be able to tolerate exercise in the foreseeable future. It took the better part of a year, which I will never get back, but it is by itself worthy of celebration. Though I may not reach my goals today, while I’m still sick from time well spent with the munchkins in my family, and maybe not even this week, it will happen because it’s important to me. I won’t forget about a silly New Years resolution or deem it unattainable by mid January. I will check those boxes when it’s right for me. There is a certain clarity found amidst uncertainty.
On a bad day, I could sit at home and Google Korean beauty (again), shop online for clothes I don’t want to buy because they won’t fit or if they do, I hope they won’t for long, watch Insta Stories of friends doing things I cannot, daydream about all the work I could be doing on the blog, take up adult coloring (yes, that’s a thing), try on every shade of lipstick at Sephora via the virtual artist (I may have already done that), and generally feel sorry for myself, but I do not.
When life forces you to slow down, be present in the moment, relinquish control and just “be,” it becomes easier to allow yourself to experience life as it is supposed to be. Removing disappointment attached to the potential outcome of the experience allows for a sense of peace. I’ve learned to stop evaluating my goals based on rigid timelines and harsh criteria for failure versus success. I’m reminded of gymnastics when I would work toward a new skill. I would leap at the bar and it would hurt like hell when I missed and fell or flung myself haphazardly in an unexpected direction, but I knew that one time I would connect and I would feel the successful movement. Not only was it a success to have learned a skill regardless of the number of “failed” attempts, the leap alone was a triumphant accomplishment.
There is clarity in uncertainty because of my relationship with the progress. I know exactly what I want and I’m ready, waiting to seize opportunities as they present. When I open my eyes in the morning, I could experience pain, and fatigue or I could experience an unusually great day. On the less than ideal days, I no longer feel down; I take the day for what it is and do what I can to be productive. Making even the slightest progress toward my goals is a success in it’s own right. I credit my positive attitude and perseverance to the knowledge that my pain is finite (which was not an easy revelation). The circumstances will subside and it’s
fine great to just accept today. On the exceptional days, I run with it, literally.
This is my journey and no one else can live it for me. No one can possibly know what it’s like when my body rebels against my goals or life in general. I don’t let anyone or anything including the turning of a calendar page make me feel insecure about my circumstances.
That’s not to say it doesn’t feel good to wipe the slate on a year and make new goals, just set goals you want to stick to day after day and be open to reevaluation progress. I don’t like the saying, “It’s a marathon, not a sprint,” can’t we think of something more enjoyable than a marathon, but you get the idea. When life serves you a shit storm of a day that eats right into all of your goals, remember that this is a passing moment in your story, so it’s ok to take it for what it is and move on when you’re ready.