I’m sad today. I’ve been sad for few days in fact. Nothing terrible happened. I’m not sinking down into a depression. (I hope not.) I’m just sad.
Last year, there was a big horse show in town and I drove out to the fairgrounds where the show is held and tracked down all my old friends that were there for the show. I spent as much time as I could with them. Which included lots of standing on concrete. And standing next to arenas. And standing outside of stalls. I was there for several hours all while I pushed away the warning bells my body was sounding. By the time I slipped away and walked back out to my car I was shaking with pain.
I didn’t reach out to them this year. Last year reminded me why I left that world behind. My back, knees, and feet can’t take prolonged periods of standing. I know, I could take a chair with me. Or try to meet them for dinner instead. The thing is, I miss that world. I miss spending a weekend at the horse show. I miss sitting on my horse with a group of friends visiting before a class. I miss standing in groups discussing patterns for upcoming classes, the newest horse show fashions, and all that. I miss it. Desperately. But I just don’t fit into that world anymore. I haven’t shown a horse in six years. I walked away from that world and while I was gone it changed. I am a stranger to it all now.
And that makes me sad.
Back when I was showing the most I was taking narcotic pain killers to make it through two days of showing. I was wrecking both my joints and my liver. A doctor made me open my eyes and see what I was doing. I could have kept going for a few more years and put my long term health at a major risk. Or I could have stopped and moved on to other passions and kept my health. I made the right choice and it has allowed me to get better control over my Rheumatoid Arthritis than I have ever had.
That’s the thing with a chronic illness. You are often faced with choices that require a great sacrifice. I gave up my lifelong love of competing with my horses to get control of my health. And those great friendships with my horsey friends were the price I paid.
It is a price I wish I hadn’t paid. And that makes me sad.
PS. I’m fine, I swear. I’m not having a pity party or anything. I’m just being honest. This is my life. And this is a choice I made. It was a good choice that sadly came with a less than good cost. That’s life. We’ll all face something similar one day.