Do you ever spend time really focusing on the goodness in your life? I know, I know that sounds all ‘self-helpy’, but bear with me. There’s a Ted Talk that says that focusing on at least one good thing a day helps rewire your brain to automatically see more goodness in life. I don’t know if that’s true for everyone, but it’s helped me. I’ll be totally transparent with you, as far back as I can remember I’ve looked for the goodness in life. My childhood wasn’t the best, which was unfortunate, but on the bright side, it taught me to appreciate even the smallest of things. It wasn’t until chronic illness came knocking that I had to start trying to focus on the good. It took a while to reestablish that connection but eventually it started to become habit again. Now don’t get me wrong there are still days, and sometimes weeks, where looking on the bright side feels like I’m patronizing myself, but I know deep down those troubling times will eventually pass.
For instance, August was a doozy of a month, from a very persistent flare and more out of control heartrate than normal, to the soaring outside-temps (we don’t have central AC because you didn’t used to need it where I live), to my PCP (who I’d only seen twice but actually liked) telling me she’s moving on to another practice, to our washer calling it quits with no notice whatsoever. Y’all there were days where looking on the bright side felt impossible. There’s something about overheating with POTS and MECFS that feels like a special kind of torture, and everything on top of that is just too much. It’s odd to go from loving the sunshine, the heat, the summer, to finding absolute glory in cooler breezes. I’m sure you get my point, despite my chin up mentality, sometimes life still tries to turn lemonade into lemons. What I’ve found though is that if you just let the dust settle, eventually your emotional attachment to the negativity will wane and you will make space for the goodness again. It’s important not to stay there and ruminate on all that went or could go wrong. And with that, I thought I’d share some of the things I’m thankful for on this cooler, lovely September day.
My Bed – Now I’m not going to lie, I loved my bed long before chronic illness, but now it’s my safe harbor. It’s quiet, it’s peaceful, it’s my space of tranquility. It’s also where I experience the worst of my illnesses, but you can’t imagine how thankful I am to have that luxury. There are many people in this world that don’t have a bed, they don’t even have a pillow. Whereas, I have a favorite pillow and favorite sheets, not a blessing afforded to everyone. As a person with a chronic illness, I cannot imagine not having a bed, can you?
The Weather – As you surmised from above, I’m very thankful to be living in San Diego where temperatures are generally pretty tolerable. We rarely get too cold or too hot. But sometimes I take those cool ocean breezes for granted, and I shouldn’t. There are people all over the world that don’t have the luxury of heat or AC, some who cannot go outside because temperatures are too extreme, especially with chronic illness. So, today I find myself very thankful for this beautiful day.
My PJs – Chronic illness people often share their love of jammies. I loved jammies before I got sick, but now they are my primary wardrobe. And I can’t tell you how thankful I am to have ones that I love, ones for hot nights, and cooler nights. I think when you’re feeling super crappy it feels good to put on your favorite jammies and snuggle into bed. That feeling may only last for a quick bit, but we take the goodness where we can find it. There are many people in this world without jammies, they sleep in their clothes, they don’t get to snuggle into their favorite PJs at night and crawl into bed, they just don’t have that indulgence.
Amazon Prime – Free shipping is a chronic illness person’s dream come true. Pretty darn awesome if you ask me. We also order groceries through Whole Foods Prime and the delivery is free (usually within two hours or so), which has been a great help to my boyfriend, saving him from trips to the grocery store. Definitely something to be thankful for, not just for me, but for him too!
Internet – I mean where would we all be without the internet? Not here, that’s for sure. My mom had chronic illness without the internet. It still breaks my heart to think of her quality of life compared to mine. If you’re going to be thankful for something today, this might be a good one. It has its frustrations but all in all I’m sure most of us can agree, it’s a win for us.
Netflix – Back in my day (when you had to walk up hill to school both ways)… 😉 No, but seriously, TV when I was a kid was a couple channels and they shut off at like 11pm. Now it’s ALL TV, ALL THE TIME. Pretty crazy, but the cool thing about Netflix is that it’s like your own personal video library and everyone in your family has their own video library portal. The next time you are having a super crappy day and are watching Netflix, definitely worth taking a second to remember that that this wasn’t always an option, and still isn’t for many.
Washer/Dryer – Ah yes, modern conveniences. There have been times in my life where I’ve been to the laundromat, or apartments where I’ve used the communal machines, and I’ve obviously survived. It’s just that having this convenience certainly makes life so much easier. These days I can’t carry laundry around, so I’m not even sure what I would do if I had to but having a machine in the garage makes life so much easier for my son and my boyfriend. Which in turn lessens my guilt about not being able to hold up my end of taking care of things, so today I’m incredibly thankful that a new machine is being delivered, and that my boyfriend stayed home from work to deal with the delivery people so I don’t have to burn through a million spoons trying to deal with them.
Tea – This list would not be complete without including the beloved cup of evening tea. Not only am I thankful for being able to have a warm cup of tea, but I’m also thankful to have the very specific tea that I love, that helps me sleep, that makes life feel that much more peaceful. There are evenings where I lack the energy to lift my cup, and often it isn’t until those moments that I realize just what a treasured part of my day tea has become.
Obviously, there are endless things in life to be thankful for, but those are a few that I thought might apply to many of us here. Sometimes when my insomnia kicks up a notch, I have a little exercise I go through. I try to count ten things I’m thankful for and often I fall asleep before I’ve reached ten. I think there’s something peaceful about gathering information from that area in your brain. Regardless, it can’t hurt to spend a little time each day just being thankful that you are here. I know there are crappy days, weeks, months, years, but sometimes just spending those few moments feeling the goodness helps the burden feel a little less heavy.
Thank you for stopping in today. I appreciate that you took the time out of your day! Hoping that today brings you goodness, and comfy jammies. A few more doodles. 🙂