“Be patient. Wait. No rush. You have plenty of time.”
How many times during your life have you heard these words of wisdom being uttered by those around you? I don’t think I can count.
I have always been a very determined, sometimes slightly “manic” person when I have my focus set on something I want to do, and it may appear sometimes that I am rushing, hurrying, and pushing the limits. This is not really the case, however. Since I was diagnosed with MS, I now have a sense of urgency that I never knew before. My time is unknown, undetermined, unpredictable. Tomorrow, I may or may not have the same cognitive and physical abilities that I have today.
It is a very interesting way of life, isn’t it? Living with an illness that threatens to take your functions away on a daily basis. It can be an incredible depressant, or it can motivate like nothing else. The luxury of time is something we just simply do not have.
My focus has been on writing lately, and it gives me a sense of continued purpose…As long as I continue to write, I feel like the beast won’t catch me. The monster won’t quite be able to overtake me. Just write…write…write…
The entire mindset shifts with a chronic illness, and time no longer seems like something that exists in an endless supply. It becomes rare, precious, priceless in our eyes, because it is a commodity that may be taken from us in an instant. How do we cope? How do we avoid being sucked into the void of depression? How do we use this awareness of the value of time to our advantage? Because the truth is, it may actually be a gift in disguise.
The awareness of time. It is the opposite of rushing through the day, hurrying from place to place. It is the antithesis of racing through daily obligations, ignorant of the beautiful things happening all around you. The awareness of time is the practice of being truly in the moment. Looking around, taking it all in. The colors, the smells, the sounds, the feelings. The temperature, the tastes, the observations. This is the place we all should be, but it seems to be impossible for so many in our hurried society.
If you have found yourself out of work because of your illness, disabled, unable to spend your days at a job, you may have the opportunity to experience true awareness of time. This is a gift, something many people will never have the opportunity to enjoy. This awareness takes practice, but give it a try. Even sitting in your own home, you may begin to notice the things around you that were taken for granted previously. If you are still working and parenting, busily raising children and trying to make ends meet, the awareness and appreciation of time is more difficult. Not impossible, however…
Your time is even more limited, rare, and scarce. You must work even harder to find that precious moment of awareness. The stress of daily life interferes with our ability to notice the simple things in life, and this is the unfortunate reality for most people. The battle to both maintain a household and family, and enjoy our lives is ongoing and difficult. If we don’t work at it, it generally will not happen. Make enjoyment and awareness a priority in your life, no matter what the circumstances might be.
Remember, try to spend a little time each day being truly aware.
By Meagan Freeman, a Nurse Practitioner (RN, FNP-BC), multiple sclerosis, mother of six, and member of MyMSTeam.com. Follow her on Twitter @motherhoodandMS.