Today, November 12, is my birthday. As a child I always looked forward to my special day, but as I grew older I began dreading it. In a way I am like Peter Pan, I don’t want to grow up. Well, that’s not necessarily true. I don’t mind being an adult, I just didn’t like seeing my age in numbers. My 30th birthday really bothered me and because of that I told everyone I was 29 for about 7 years! Funny thing is that turning 40 didn’t bother me at all. Today I turn 47. I thought it would bother me as I am now getting very close to 50. However, I am not bothered by it at all and here is why:
I spent my 30’s and most of my 40’s trying to reclaim the physical life I had before my chronic illnesses took over my body. I was always looking backwards. Every day was filled with thoughts of wishing I could do this or that again. Sadly that way of thinking kept me from living in the present or for the future.
Two and half years ago I decided to make some changes in my life, changes that gave me a new lease on life. First thing I did was to stop dreaming about the life I used to have. Instead I began thinking about ways to do what I wanted. This meant thinking outside the box and ignoring my impulse of doing things the way I used to. The second was to change how I treat my conditions. For 14 years I treated my conditions with pharmaceutical medications that did nothing but make me sicker than I already was. Thanks to the medicinal powers of marijuana, I have experienced relief that I never knew was possible. Am I pain free? Have I been cured? The answer to both is NO, but the relief and measurable improvements have given me a new life. Last but not least, I decided to stop feeling sorry for myself. So what if I couldn’t physically do what I used to do. So what if I have to do things differently. I am alive and my life has a purpose, even if I don’t always know what that purpose is.
Two and a half years ago I wanted to die. It is now my hope to live a very long life, even if that means living with constant pain. Each birthday is a milestone. Each year is filled with challenges and health battles. Instead of dreading my birthdays, I now celebrate and proudly proclaim its number, because each year signifies that I am a survivor.
My birthday wish for you is that you will let go of the past and live for tomorrow by accepting your conditions and learn to live life differently.