I always like to do a blog post on, or near my birthday to reflect on the past year and see what great insights I have had, and what big life decisions I've made and great successes, or great disappointments.
Basically, this whole year, I learned one really huge lesson with several small lessons kind of branched off from the one big lesson.
So what is the big lesson you ask? No matter how old you are, what race or ethnicity you are, how much money you have or don't have, how successful you or your parents are in life, your educational level, and on and on chronic illness and possible death from terminal chronic illness is not discriminatory. It can happen to anyone at any time. No one signs up for it. No one definitely signs up for the death sentence part of it. But that does not mean that it doesn't happen to some of the most innocent, cute children, teens, and young adults with their whole lives ahead of themselves. Also it stinks for adults too, but it just seems a little less fair to me when it's the kiddos. Chronic illness sucks!
We have to realize that no matter how much we think that we still have 60+ years here on this Earth, the truth is that none of us really know. Even if we don't have chronic illnesses that may be terminal, we could still die at an early age due to a car accident or something like that. It doesn't just have to be from a chronic illness.
However, once we found out what kinds of mitochondrial disease I had, we did get pretty nervous about me living a really long term average life span. Once you are given a diagnosis like that, you just have to start doing things that you want to do, because you never know how much more time you are going to have. Well, no one does really. When we know we may not have that many more birthdays, we start living life to the fullest, and stop making plans to please others, but make plans to please ourselves.
Eventually, when you get older and more mature, and the more life experiences you have had, especially if those life experiences are in dealing with chronic health conditions and having watched from a very young age very young friends pass away. We have to remember to start living each day to the fullest....even if that looks completely different for each of us. We have to live life now. We can't wait...because if we wait too long, it might be too long. We can't give up on our dreams. If we have things we want to do, the time we need to do them is now.
Even though it may seem like if you look at your life day by day nothing really seems to change. Everything moves so slow. Changes happen, but they just kind of mutate over time, slowly, forming new parts of you. Not all at once, hitting you like a brick wall (although, at some points this year, that is exactly how I felt.) But my point is at my last birthday, I never even dreamed of getting a permanent feeding tube a month and a half later, having to drop out of my masters program for a year to be on bedrest, getting diagnosed with mitochondrial disease which is most likely going to shorten my lifespan significantly, would actually get work done on my thesis, and decide to go back to work...but all that (and more happened).
Change happens, it's how you respond to that change that makes you who you are. I know that I have lost a lot this year. But I have gained a lot too. Through both my feeding tube groups and mito groups and some other groups as well, I have met some of my best, most precious friends that I get to love on and encourage. Even though we are all there for sucky reasons. Good things can come out of bad circumstances. Trust me on this. I am an expert!!
We need to stop victimizing ourselves and playing the woe is me card. Another thing I learned this year is that no one likes someone who complains to someone all the time. Especially me, fi you can't find anything happy to say in your conversation, please don't talk to me. There is always something good in life. Your life cannot be all miserable. There is just no frigging way possible. So if you are only gonna message me when you want to complain...you can bet I won't be answering your messages, because for my healing, I need positivity and perseverance. Not negative people dragging me down all the time.
The last thing I learned is to always live like you're dying. Live like this will be the your last day on Earth. And make sure that you never stop trying, never give up, fight the good fight, don't give up on your battle. Because all we really want for our birthdays, really is another birthday, right? Overall, I think I learned some overall good lessons this past year. At least I have a lot to reflect on for this upcoming year. I wonder what I will learn next year?