Happy Friday Eve everyone! It’s almost the weekend. Yay! It’s also Day 4 of the #RABlogWeek challenge. Today the topic is “Five things I have learned.” RA has been less than kind to me, but it has also taught me some really important things.
RA has taught me to live a smaller life. You might think that a life of less would be a bad thing but it really isn’t. Because RA forces me to make the most of the limited energy I have, I’ve learned to pare down the things I do. I used to be busy, busy, busy. I showed my horses. I took weekend photography trips with friends. I volunteered with several different groups. I did event photography. I did freelance journalism. I worked full time. I had countless hobbies. I never stopped moving. I’ve let go of a lot of that. I just don’t have the energy for it all anymore. And it has made my life so much sweeter. Without all that business in my life I can slow down and enjoy the world so much more. I can sit out on the back porch and just watch the sun go down without feeling like I’m supposed to be working on a story or editing photos or whatever. Things are so much more peaceful in my world now.
RA has taught me to be grateful. As I said yesterday, RA has stolen a lot of things from me. There are things I loved to do and things I want to do that are forever out of my reach. And that sucks. But it’s okay. Because I have the memories of the days when RA wasn’t so bad. I can remember those days I skipped school to go ride with my friend Sarah. I can treasure the days spent sitting on my horse beside a show pen, watching my friends ride, laughing with others, waiting my turn to show. I store those good days up and remember them on my bad days. I’m grateful for those good memories. They’re an island of hope when RA is trying to sink me.
RA has taught me to listen. Not so much to people though. I still have the bad habit of tuning out folks when I’m thinking of something else. No, RA has taught me to listen to my body. As my RA has gotten worse over the years I’ve learned to listen to my body. The pain, the swelling, the stiffness, the not-quite-right feeling – all those are warnings from my body. My right knee warns me of every change in the barometric pressure. My right foot joins with my back to tell me that I’ve been on my feet for too long. My hands and wrists tell me to stop typing or knitting and take a break. My body talks to me in countless ways, all in an effort to tell me that a potential RA flare is coming. I’ve learned to listen and take preemptive measures. It usually helps me ward off a flare or at least shorten the time they spend wrecking my body.
RA has taught me to ask for help. Granted, I still really suck at this. But I’m better at it every day. I’m currently reading The Art of Asking by Amanda Palmer. I’m hoping it will help me out. I need to ask more. I’m at work in progress, what can I say. RA keeps reminding me that there are more and more things that I can’t do on my own. It is maddening. And humbling. But I’m trying to let others help me more often.
RA has taught me that there is no such things as perfect. I used to need to look my best when I left the house. I used to need to be the best. I used to need to have the cleanest house, the unblemished car, spotless clothes, perfect hair, etc, etc, etc. I was wound way too tight. Now I’m happy to leave the house in clothes rather than pjs. I’m happy to finish something knowing I tried my hardest and that it isn’t perfect that that it is still pretty great. My house is no longer spotless. My car has some dings. My clothes are clean (mostly) but patched and worn. My hair is in it’s natural state of curly madness. And I’m chill and happy. RA has taught me to relax and enjoy my not perfect world. Because it is the imperfectness that makes life great.
To read all of the #RABlogWeek blogs, go here. Click on the links under each topic to read that day’s blogs.