If I am honest, it’s been approximately 237,600 minutes since my last post. I did attempt to blog, but physical and emotional problems took control and prevented me from doing anything outside of going to work and coming home.
There Are Times Our Bodies Give Us No Choice But To Take A Minute
In February of this year, I began to feel sick. At first, I thought it was just some type of flu bug, but after battling intestinal pain, bloating, exhaustion and loss of appetite that resulted in losing almost 40 pounds, I knew it was something more.
I concluded that I had to do the one thing I hate doing, and that is visiting my doctor. He ran the usual blood work that women get done each year, and I shared my symptoms with him. He didn’t seem too concerned and told me it was probably just an intestinal bug, but he did refer me to a gastroenterologist.
My gut told me otherwise, so I did what most of us do while waiting for an appointment with a specialist, I took to the web and began my research. (Don’t doctors love it when we come to their offices well informed on what the medical sites say we have? )
Long story short, after my first ever colonoscopy, the gastro doctor confirmed my research results and diagnosed me with diverticulitis.
I was battling an infection in my lower intestines and prescribed two different types of antibiotics totaling 2500 mg a day for two weeks. When you take big doses of antibiotics for a time, it not only kills the bad stuff in your gut, but it kills the good stuff as well, and this required several additional weeks of rebuilding my strength and taking probiotics to heal my gut.
There Are Moments When We Need to Step Back To See the Big Picture
This ten-week journey was only the beginning of things I would need to rebuild and reevaluate in my life.
Last year my husband started a new job, one that requires him to add two hours of drive time to his day. From the moment he started, we began to mentally prepare to sell our house and move to a new city.
It was emotionally draining, as we always imagined we would spend the rest of our lives in our current house, one we waited 20 years to purchase. Our house isn’t anything fancy, but it became our home. It is a place where we were finally able to grow roots after spending our entire lives moving from one duty station to another.
We have a lot of memories here, not to mention 20 years worth of crap that fits inside these walls. Marie Kondo would have a hard time stepping in our house due to all the items that bring us joy. But it was her philosophy that caused my husband and me to reassess what was important to us.
And while our house is just a building, we realized the joy these walls have given us. Years were spent renovating it to make it a welcome place for family and friends to rest and relax during their visits and a place for us to retire and call our own. We finally concluded that not only did we NOT want to move, we also didn’t HAVE to move. With only 3 to 5 more years before my husband retires, the daily drive was doable and allowed him to continue to enjoy listening to his audiobooks.
Being Physically Sick + Emotionally Overwhelmed = Days of Just Surviving
During my hiatus, the only real strength I had once I got home from work was to lay around and think. It took a while to stop thinking about all the things I should be doing and accept the fact that all I really needed to concentrate on was getting better at every level.
I have many insights I am working on for future posts, but for now, I’ll share these three things:
1- Trust Your Gut
I’ve said this before, but it is a nice reminder that I needed last month.
The first part of May, I lost my neighbor and sweet friend of 20 years to cancer. She had been battling melanoma for several years, and while it did go away for a time, it came back, weakening her system which caused other organs to be affected. Once she came home from the hospital and hospice was called, I would go across the street to visit her when I got home from work.
The Thursday before she crossed over, I had decided not to bug her but would go the following day instead. However, my gut kept nudging me, reminding me that I had told her I’d stop by. I fought the internal battle for about 20 minutes, reminding myself not to be an imposition and tomorrow would be fine. It wasn’t long after that I was knocking on her door and then sitting once again by her side. She excitedly told me, she had gotten up earlier that afternoon from her hospital bed and walked to the front door to view her gardens. We visited until she started to drift off to sleep, and as I squeezed her hand, kissed her on the cheek, I told her I’d see her tomorrow.
But that visit would not happen. As I walked into my house after work the following day, her son text messaged me that she had just passed away. Rushing over to be with her husband and son, I couldn’t help but be thankful I had listened to my gut the day prior. Because I listened, I was able to share one last conversation with her, one last squeeze from her hand and see her sweet smile fill her face.
2- It’s Okay To Take A Minute or 200,000
This little tidbit has been something I have always believed, but until last year, I can’t remember ever really applying it to me.
Life can be overwhelming on most days, but when you throw physical and emotional stresses in the mix it can completely take every ounce of energy just to get out of bed in the mornings. Anything extra gets pushed to the side leaving you feeling guilty and even somewhat selfish.
Self-care has to be one of the most important things we can do for ourselves. A lot of people think self-care is something you do to make you feel good, but it is so much more than that.
Self-care is about wellness; physical, spiritual, mental and emotional wellness. It isn’t about adding something to your to-do list, but it’s about taking things off your to-do list and taking any amount of time needed to regain strength, order, and peace. Never feel guilty for taking time for you. It is impossible to pour into others if you are empty.
3- Life Is Too Short To Live Without Joy
Many of us spend so much time running around, making sure everyone else is happy that we end up forgetting that our happiness matters too.
One of the perks of moving closer to my husbands’ job would have been being closer to our son and his wife. When I let them know we had decided to stay put, I worried that they would be disappointed.
One of the biggest takeaways I have learned from the past few months is this; as much as I want to make my kids and everyone else happy, it is crucial for me to remember that my happiness counts too. I shouldn’t have been surprised by the response from our kids’ to our news. “Mom, we completely understand. We just want you both to be happy.”
Now that I am back, I hope you all are well and finding joy in your lives. Summer has just started and can be a busy time for you. Remember the importance of finding a minute or two for yourself.