“Life is too short, take nothing for granted”
Catch phrases roll off our tongues at one time or another.
I hazard a guess, they have a slightly different meaning for all of us.
On my Facebook Support Group, we often have a segment called “Thankful Thursday”. Members share a few things they are grateful for in their lives. Big or small, it doesn’t matter.
It sounds easy enough but all of our members suffer from debilitating chronic illness. It can be incredibly hard not to be overcome by pain and symptoms.
Nevertheless, we do all find something good in our lives to share and celebrate. It’s a lovely uplifting segment and reminds us life can be good, despite our diseases.
As I was contemplating the things I was grateful for this week, I realised I was really struggling to honestly feel grateful at all.
Am I Grateful Or Am I Taking Things For Granted?
I’m absolutely exhausted with my constant pain levels. My Dad recently passed away and I’m in the early stages of grief.
I’m mostly housebound but life is still way too busy.
I spend a good 40 hours a week administering my Forum. I write, I network with other bloggers, I’m an online volunteer with an Arthritis organisation, I spend time with my husband, do household tasks, look after our finances and other household admin. Pretty much a full-time job while living with a debilitating disease.
I’m incredibly grateful I can do all of the above. So grateful I can use my mind as it helps distract me from my physical pain.
As I was thinking about my exhaustion, all I was juggling and feeling too tired to be grateful for anything, I realised there was something I was grateful for. It was something I never want to take for granted.
A “Mind Full” Moment
My mind, my brain, my ability to think. I am so grateful for it and I found myself thinking;
“ I want to use my mind while I can, I don’t want to take it for granted. I may not always have it”
Right there, right then, I felt every depth of gratefulness for being able to use my brain. Not just intellectually but in many other ways.
- I can dream, I can remember wonderful moments in my past. I can manage my disease better by thinking through the consequences of my actions.
- I can write, I can sing. I can enjoy TV shows because my brain allows me to follow story lines.
- I can have lengthy chats with my husband while relaxing together.
- I can make phone calls and organise household administrative tasks, even if it is exhausting.
- I can read and research.
- I negotiate my health care and work in partnership with my medical team.
All of this and more is because my mind, my brain functions.
Loss Causes Us To Re-Evaluate Everything
There are many things in my life I don’t take for granted and many I do and shouldn’t. We all do though.
- I didn’t ever consider losing the use of my legs but I have.
- I didn’t ever consider losing my independence but I have.
- I didn’t ever consider losing my taste and smell but on many days I have lost both of these senses.
- I didn’t think I would ever have a permanent colostomy but I do.
- I didn’t think I would lose my hair but I have.
Loss definitely causes us to re-evaluate everything. It’s not a bad thing, especially if it leads us to focus on what we still have.
My gratitude for having a functioning mind is huge. There’s an underlying reason for this.
I know I may one day lose this blessing.
My beautiful Grandmother died from Alzheimer’s Disease and one of my Aunties is currently battling this insidious disease.
Does this mean I’m likely to also have the disease later in life?
Who knows but it’s not an unrealistic concern. It does make me so aware of the gift of a functioning mind and makes me never want to take it for granted.
Gratefully Take Nothing For Granted
I remember having viral pneumonia, 6 months before I was to be married, many, many years ago. I was in hospital and my parents and fiancée (now husband) had been told by my Specialists I wasn’t responding to any treatment and they were very concerned.
I was so focused mentally on getting well for my upcoming wedding, I didn’t for one moment consider not surviving.
What did concern me was I couldn’t speak at all. I had never lost my voice before. As a singer my main concern was would I ever be able to sing again. I was also a Bank Manager at the time so talking was pretty important for my career too.
I eventually recovered but it took 3 months for my voice to return. It was a scary time and since then I have never taken my voice for granted.
If you are struggling with your chronic disease and finding it really hard to find anything to be grateful for, think about what you can still do. What part of your body is still working?
Think about what it would be like if a part of you ceased to work.
It won’t be long before you have something very tangible to be grateful for. Something you realise you can’t ever take for granted.
Before long you too will be gratefully taking nothing for granted.
Life is too short not to be grateful for something, every day
When times are good, be joyful;
When times are bad, consider this:
God made the one as well as the other, so people won’t seek anything outside of his best. (Ecclesiastes 7v14)
If you’re looking for genuine support, care, understanding and friendship, you are so welcome to join my closed Facebook support forum,Medical Musings with Friends. It’s a safe place to connect with others living with chronic and complex diseases, who truly understand the daily challenges. A warm welcome awaits.
If you prefer an audible blog post, please check out my Podcast, Medical Musings With Sam
I’m a Contributor at “The Mighty”. You can check out my published articles at My Author Page
If you would like to read a little more about my journey, here’s the link toMy Story
Australian Aspire Awards 2020 Nominee – Awarded Medal of Recognition for Individual Best Achievement Community Advocacy.
Thank you to Arthritis Queensland for the nomination!