Covid has caused us to change everything we do, and every way we think about, our approach to life. Life before Covid serves as the foundation of how we learned to adjust, accept and move through this new normal we have all been forced to maneuver. In some instances I am finding the change to be a much needed, and a welcomed, unplugging of a life that was in control of me, not me in control of it. This unplugging has allowed me the opportunity to catch up to myself, my life and our life with Gulf War Illness. Time to examine what is real, what is priority and what is my true responsibility to myself, Jeff and this third entity that inhabits our home, body, life and story everyday.
Most people make decisions about how they live their life based on interests, time, money, opportunity and desire. But
The decision process is a rigorous exercise in seeing the possibilities...Isn’t it interesting how many possibilities you can come up when you are looking for the things that can produce pain and suffering? How long is the drive? Where can he sit when we get there? What kind of physical activity will it require? What will the temperature be and do we have control over that? Is there an out if we have to go? What will the negative physical consequences of a day out produce and for how long?
As you can see, there is a lot to process and a lot to take into account. The disconnect in this whole thing is that it goes against our human nature. Human nature is such that if we aren't uncomfortable, we don’t change. The process of living your life with chronic or terminal illness all by itself becomes uncomfortable, and requires changes you never could have imagined. When weighing the cost vs. benefit, you are basically trying to decide if you are willing to add more pain and suffering to your life. It is easy to say “no thank you” call again and stop here.
However, it is essential to go through the same rigorous exercise in looking for the possible benefits. The benefits are directly connected to our mental and emotional wellness. Being mentally uncomfortable through loneliness, disconnection and isolation can be just as painful and debilitating as physical pain. I believe the antidote to pain and suffering is laughter, love and connection. “When we are not connected we are suffering...” (Brené Brown).
When we live with the third entity we need to shift our focus to “how can we...” instead of “why can’t we...”. We need to re-frame the dreams of yesterday into what is possible today. If your dream is to go to Jamaica, think...what is it about Jamaica that is attractive...is it about the view, the warmth, being together? When you figure this out, the next step is... how can we create a similar experience within the parameters of what is possible today... For us... Jamaica is in the backyard where we can breath the lake air, sit by the fire, listen to great music and hold each other tight... exactly what we would be doing in Jamaica...Because when the rubber meets the road, it all comes down to how we loved each other through this....That’s living...