Last month, my best friend gave a talk down at our Alma Mater, West Virginia University. She lives in Richmond, VA currently, therefore I don’t get to see her often. So, since I’m always looking for a reason to head down to WVU, I went down to see her talk.
Speaking to our old business fraternity chapter Delta Sigma Pi, when really wanted to relay her life experience since graduating and give some insight into work once you leave the comforts of a college campus. I remember having a few alumni come and talk when we were in college and I found it very beneficial.
She was giving her talk on how you should pursue careers which take into account all the passions and themes you surround yourself with. For instance, she bounced from job to job and finally realized that she didn’t like working for someone else. That she wanted to be in control of her destiny and subsequently started her own photography business. She’s a successful boudoir photog (check out her site, she does some pretty amazing work!) and she loves helping women celebrate their sexuality. So when she had the opportunity to move into skin care, it made perfect sense for her since she already loved to help women embrace loving the skin they live in. (Speaking of, you should go follow her instagram!)
As her talk went on, she had the students write down themes that they saw in their life and then opened it up for discussion. During the discussion, one of the male students mentioned that he felt that sometimes you had to reach a breaking point, or your lowest low, to really move forward and excel.
That’s was my cue!
I stood up and briefly, very briefly, talked about my situation.
I hadn’t had anything planned (to which I should have realized I would do this, so I should have thought about this before hand!), but I just talked candidly about how I thought I had it all a few years back. The beemer, the awesome apartment, the sexy job, more money than a 25-year-old should be paid, a great (or so I thought) relationship, family, friends, trips, parties, restaurants, hot spots . . . you name it. I thought I was living the high life. Until life knocked me down and I truly was faced with the realities of living.
As I laid in bed for months on end, it didn’t matter what job I HAD, what car I drove previously, what restaurants I had or had not been to, which parties I was attending or which events I’d be at – NOPE. NONE OF IT MATTERED.
All I wanted was a day without pain.
All I wanted was a day where I didn’t have to struggle to get out of bed.
All I wanted was to be able to live a somewhat, semi-normal life.
I didn’t even care if I couldn’t get back to EVERYTHING I had used to do, I just wanted to be able to do SOME of it.
No perfect job or successful career could help me.
No perfect apartment or house.
No amount of money could help me in this situation.
It truly became clear to me that maybe I wasn’t putting an emphasis on all the important aspects of my life. Sure, I had friends and spent quality time with my family, but was I fostering these relationships? Was I just always taking? Was I giving? How was I treating myself? Why was I always striving for more, more, more? Why wasn’t I content with what I had?
Now, being 30, and having gone through some pretty tough moments, I have a whole new view of life.
I want to do things that make me feel alive, that make me feel happy, that fulfill me.
Sure, did IT Consulting fulfill my bank account? Hell to the yes it did. But, at the end of the day, did it light me up? Did it make me happy?
My health has taught me that when it comes to life, we need to pursue the things we love and light us up. For me, that’s using my story for good. To help other patients see that they can still live an awesome life. To amplify the patient voice and make others aware of solutions, support and options out there.
I would have NEVER chosen to get sick, but I believe that it was getting me ready for my future. It was diverting me from the path that I had been on. It was a major lesson that I had to learn. (actually once you’re done reading this post, go and read my friend Trevis’s post on this very subject. I mentioned this to him at HealtheVoices and he had a GREAT response to my comment.)
Should we be super excited about having a chronic condition or having to endure a hard time in our lives?
Um, no. I’m not saying you should be jumping up and down about the fact that you have lupus, or that you lost your job, or that you lost your best friend. What I’m saying is, in every situation we face in life there are lessons we can learn and take away.
I encourage you to look at your life, and your situation, to see what lessons life is trying to give you.
Having a chronic condition can be exhausting, and the lessons it can afford us can be exhausting as well! Sometimes in the heat of the moment it’s not easy to see what we’re supposed to be taking away from the situation.
I promise. PROMISE PROMISE PRRRROMISE that in time you will see it.
Life always reveals these to us in the perfect time.
So as I sit here today, I live a very different life than I imagined I would be when I was 25.
But you know what?
I’m so damn happy with my life right now that I couldn’t imagine being anywhere else.
Life never goes as planned. THAT you can plan on.
Wishing You A Pain Free Day!