Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Greater Understanding

My 28th birthday is in 11 days and I'm so glad to be celebrating another year of life. I think most people only get better with age and I'm one of them. I love my fine lines and the gray hairs I find atop my head (I actually have quite a lot but they are so white they look blonde). I'm grateful to be turning another year older, because not everyone gets to.

I can't tell you how many times I have gone to bed, since I first got sick at 22, thinking I wouldn't make it to the morning because of the amount of pain my body and mind were experiencing. I was either in so much pain I couldn't imagine how I could possibly make it through and live to see another day or I felt like something was so wrong inside of my body that it was my time, the end of the line. Even though those moments are really terrifying they are also eye-opening. There are lows in life but there are many more highs and reaching those rock bottoms lead you up to new places you didn't expect. Each of those bad moments have led me to a place of enlightenment and while I still don't know the answers to the biggest mysteries of the universe I do feel like I'm smarter than the average bear, and for that I am thankful.

Sometimes I think back to my pre-sick days and I just didn't have the outlook on my life that I do now. I feel like I understand life and what it is all about a lot better than someone who has never been ill. Nothing makes you realize what really matters in life more than getting sick and all of the ups and downs that go with it.

I appreciate the little things as well as the big ones. I deeply and profoundly appreciate when I'm having a good day and I feel almost physically and/or mentally normal, but I'm also okay with the bad days because even though not every day is good, there is always good in every day. I am thankful for my family – human and furry, how much healthier (minus the cancer) my Dad is since he received his heart valve replacement, the way my Mom lights up when she talks about her students and how much she loves teaching, the two furry little guys who make my every day a little brighter, each breath I am lucky enough to take, every new thing I learn, the nature around me that I get to look at and enjoy, sitting on the patio enjoying the sunshine with Cooper at my feet and feeling the warmth on my face, the laughter of my loved ones, the snores of my little furry ones while they sleep, getting a letter/card/package in the mail, inside jokes, laughing so hard it hurts, fresh flowers (until they die, and then I get a little bummed), receiving a thoughtful post on my Facebook wall or a friendly e-mail… Some of those are slightly random and that's just a small sampling of things that make my life beautiful but the point of the matter is that I am so grateful for all of the things, regardless of how big or small they may be, that I get to experience in my life. Life is what you make of it.

Some people tend to get lost in thinking that some things matter in life when the truth is they don't. Things don't matter. The car you drive or the designer bag you carry, they don't matter. What other people think about you doesn't matter. People who don't love you or like you don't matter. All that matters is living life, loving the ones you want and need around you, and how you think and feel about yourself. I'm not saying that I'm an expert on life or what the meaning of life is but I think I've got a pretty good handle on it.

I really wish that everyone could truly understand the world, the way I do, without having to get sick. I'm so happy that I am able to see the world in such a special and unique way.

I'm thankful to be alive and I really couldn't ask for more.