The End Of A Decade
The last few months seem to have flown by yet I have done so very little. To be honest this is something I could say for this decade as a whole. As we approach these last few weeks of this decade I can’t help but reflect on the years that again, were not spent.
Landmarks & Chronic Illness
These landmarks, often celebratory for many, are difficult for those with chronic illness and for good reason. When we are unable to live, truly live our lives, birthdays, New Years and indeed the end of a decade can quite simply be painful reminders of how our life is impacted with chronic illness.
Social Media Trends
There’s a current social media challenge that has gone viral, the decade challenge. Where a comparison selfie from 2009 and 2019 are uploaded. This is fun. Great to see how life has changed, how people have changed, fashion, makeup trends have done and so on. But what may be a fun challenge for some can also be a painful reminder for those too sick to live conventional lives, if live at all. A photo of me in 2009 would be of me bed bound. One of me in 2019, the same. It is a painful reminder of a passing of time and sadly time lost.
A Loss Of Time
How can we comprehend this loss of time? This loss of life and living? I don’t have an answer to that, merely an emptiness deep within me and a sadness that always exists. I am deeply sad for both myself and my loved ones as this, my chronic illness fight has impacted us all greatly throughout the years.
The passing of another decade is a reminder of the second decade of my life spent fighting for my health and never quite winning. The pain it has caused and how unfair that is.
Yet, it is a signalling of a new decade.
New Year, New Me?
I gave up on the idea of a new year bringing good things many, many years ago (as I said, I’m two decades in now folks). This doesn’t mean I’m not an optimist by any means, I’ve simply learned I need to also be a realist when it comes to ‘living’ with my illness in order to manage my symptoms to the best of my ability.
For too many years I held out an unfounded hope that somehow a new year would equal a new me, new health, a new chance. It never has.
So I have decided to not place that pressure on myself, or indeed the coming 2020, at the turn of the decade. As my beloved Gran would say or indeed sing ‘Que Sera Sera, What will be, will be.’
I plan to face this new decade with the same optimism I have always, with guarded hope for the future and with the same fight I give each day; even on the days I give up.
A New Decade
A new decade does not mean a new me, that’s too much pressure for anyone to place upon themselves, never mind those with health conditions they cannot change. A new decade simply means I’m still fighting. It means I have fought for two decades and I will fight for more. I hope I won’t have to of course.
I may not have the conventional societal achievements to prevail. I cannot look back and say ‘this was the decade I got married’, ‘those were the years I had my children…or bought my first home’, I don’t have any of that. Of course, that makes me deeply, profoundly sad. However, I also know I have to stop comparing myself to the achievements of those of my healthy counterparts.
What I can say is that I have survived. I have fought. I have made it despite a lack of medical support, care, treatment, investigation, research, validation and so much more (I really could go on). My body is still fighting even though I believed it would not many a time. And if that does not mean I have achieved a whole lot? Then what does?
Surely surviving is the most important achievement of all?
So at the end of this decade and the beginning of the new, I will recognise my sadness but I will endeavour to be proud of my achievements because damn, I work hard for them.
I hope you too will join me in celebrating the same within yourself.
Que Sera Sera.
If you enjoyed this post, you may like ‘Self Care And The Spoonie Life‘ and ‘Illness Touches Us All, Why We Need To Talk About It‘.
It is definitely hard to face a new decade, knowing you spent the past one living with chronic illness. My biggest goal for 2020 is a massive mindset shift.
Yes, these landmarks can be unhelpful at times can’t they. That sounds like a great and inspiring goal!
I talked to a friend recently about her decade side-by-side photo. She was seemingly happy, displaying her “glow up” (or whatever the kids call it these days). I asked her how she felt about seeing the changes visually and what they meant to her. She just stared at me. Told me she couldn’t think about that time in her life, she just found an “ugly/cute” photo to make her look better now than she did then. Turns out regardless of what’s in your way: chronic illness or otherwise, these are bitter reminders and it seems many people choose to not think about it instead of dealing with the emotions. I wonder what that says about people in general. Or, as you mentioned, if survival is the achievement for everyone?
wow that’s really interesting! I often think it’s easier for us to hide and choose to not think about things. I’ve seen so very many posts celebrating wonderful achievements in peoples lives, and rightly so, I just hope that people also take note of the times they fought on and make it through the hardest things, as you say survival being the biggest achievement for us all! Thanks for such an interesting comment!