One of the things I rarely talk about in my blogs is my health… because I think there are more interesting things to talk about: great food, the fascinating people I know and get to meet, and all of the wonderful places there are to see and learn about.
But, without good health, none of this would be possible for me. Or for any of us.
Living with multiple chronic illnesses is like having a passel of children, each with different needs, schedules, temperaments, and diets – and having to cater to each one: all day, every day. But, what choice do I have?
(Well, yeah, you can park ’em in front of the TV, feed them Happy Meals, pizza, and cookies until bedtime every day. Some people can – but ignoring them isn’t an option for me.)
I was told at 47 that most people live for 15-20 years with my primary illness. At that moment I decided that I would do better than that. I would get clear about what my priorities, and what my life-goals were, and accomplish as many as I could.
Seven or eight years later, I became even more ill. I also became more determined to live as vibrantly and healthfully as possible, and doubled-down on a few of those goals. As I succeeded, I wrote my first book, sharing what I did, what we can all do, that works: from diet and exercise, to minding our mind, and creating new, more supportive, habits.
While it seems like it should have been the easiest… the hardest thing for me was to retire. I know lots of people who can’t wait, and others who love their work and want to keep doing it until they no longer can. My father would still be teaching college students if they had let him, but he retired at 85.
I missed my clients. I missed being around the great stylists, receptionists, and salon owners I worked with during my career. But, not being around all of the chemistry necessary to “work our magic” has been surprisingly beneficial to my health! As has the lowered stress of not dealing with traffic, a noisy environment, or the physicality of doing hair.
Now I have trouble maintaining a schedule, even after decades of living with days divided into 45-minute time blocks. Why would I want a schedule? Remember that passel of kiddos? They do better on a schedule! Less meltdowns, more energy, and better sleep at night.
In the year since the book was published I continue to make changes that support my health and well being. I continue to learn, inspired by friends in the healthy foods community, the writing and travel-blog community, and the personal growth community. (If interested in Who I Follow, leave a comment and I’ll send you an email)
Moving into our motor home has also helped more than I thought it would. Having my home with me wherever I go – which includes my own pillow and bathroom – provides great peace of mind. It also provides flexibility, alleviating the tourist anxiety of needing to see everything today ! If not today, I will probably be able to do it tomorrow, otherwise , it gets added back to my
Bucket Love List.
The end result of all of this is that even though I am at the 19-year-mark, I know I will be here much longer than predicted, and be even healthier than ever expected.
Last week I saw my hematology oncologist and bragged about being able to ride a bicycle in Santa Fe at 7,000 feet. He crossed his arms, striving to look concerned. The twinkle in his eyes gave him away. “You know,” he said, “if that’s the case, then… I’d be okay with seeing you again in a year. How’s that sound to you?”
It sounds like the best news I’ve ever heard!
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