I want to feel alive, happy, engaged and connected. That’s my endpoint. So I will start with what I can do – what I am doing at the moment.
My friends change their moods through action. Depressed? Clean out a cupboard, go to the gym. Lonely? Drop in on a friend or volunteer. One of the problems with disabling pain is that you can’t do the mood enhancing activities, which is exactly why you need to do them!
This harsh winter is a good metaphor: skiing, skating, climbing over snow banks are out, but I can mall walk which brings me into contact with people. It is easy to be content by the stove, watching Downton. I want to be mentally stimulated and to feel intelligent. Theatre, movies, lectures and courses are out, but there’s always something interesting or funny on the radio. Bless CBC!
A friend said recently, “You always have such interesting things to talk about, Jane.” To which I replied, “I cut up a lot of carrots.” Whenever I am in the kitchen or ironing, I am listening, vacuuming up ideas for later debate.
Which brings me to food. I can’t go out to restaurants easily, but now my stomach is finally recovering after 25 years of very limited diet, I can cook and enjoy taste again, provided no gluten or dairy.
My last wish is for connection. Thank goodness for email and the phone. The greatest gift has been finding out just how good and kind my friends are. They take trouble to accommodate me and our den is full of laughter, even if I have to lie down on heat for several hours before they come.
So what I have to say firmly to myself is that it is no good comparing myself with others, where they go or what they do. Yes, I would love to travel, particularly to see our far flung grandchildren and I would love to go to a friend’s home for coffee, but this is what I have got and if I want to have any quality of life, the choice is mine. I have to put myself in the frame of mind that will give me that, not wait wistfully for things to make me happy.