Life has taught me many new lessons since I developed fibromyalgia. Perhaps one of the most important ones is to seize each moment while I still have it. You never know how long a good period will last. Do not put off for tomorrow what you might have the chance to do today.
I do not mean the statement above as a call to action on a good day. I know only too well how that can result in overwork and a subsequent flare. I mean it over a much longer time, sort of taking a bird’s eye view of my life so far.
A heightened pain response and reduced energy quotient with FM has meant that many of the things I used to be able to do are now off-limits. Yet reminiscing about my past abilities do not cause me nearly as much grief, as does the regret over not making better use of my healthy years while I had them!
There were so many things I had always wanted to do! Most of those things did not need to happen right then. They were just hobbies or skills I wanted to develop for fun – like horse-riding, scuba-diving, and many others. None of them made any direct impact on my education or career. So for a long time I put them on the back-burner and focused on school, on building a career, on all the “adult” things that you are supposed to do.
We do that a lot, don’t we? We put off the things that are for pleasure in order to tend to the necessities of the moment. After all, there will always be time for pleasure “later”!
I too felt I could always do those things later – later, when I am more settled, have more free time, and more expendable income. I was young and healthy, and felt time was on my side.
But how utterly wrong I was!
My first realization of this came a couple of years ago when I got into archery. I enjoyed practicing the stances and getting the form right, more than simply hitting the target (which I was pretty miserable at but felt would improve as my form got better). I never got that far though. Soon, my muscles started to react violently to my drawing and shooting. The fatigue was often debilitating at the end of a practice session. After a few months of struggling through, I was forced to largely give it up.
Since then, the dominoes have continued to fall. I found that sitting astride a horse, even for a few minutes, is quite painful for me now. Hence I am forced to face that any equestrian dreams I may ever have had must now be buried as well. Then there is my long-held dream of scuba diving . . . I can barely even carry my purse for a few hours without my shoulders getting angry with me, so carrying scuba gear feels out of the question at the moment!
The recognition that I may never be able to dive hit me the hardest, because I was finally so close to having the time and the money to do it! Though the schools I looked into were more worried about my asthma – most seemed to not even know what fibromyalgia is – I knew the latter was going to be a much bigger problem for me. Right around the time I started looking into training programs for scuba diving, it seemed like Ms. Fibro stopped being a house guest and had decided to move in for good. It is hard not to feel the unfairness of it when you reach a finish line of sorts, and after you get there, the powers that be decide to move it farther back, somewhere beyond the horizon.
Yet, I feel I cannot give up! I must strive on to the next finish line, wherever that may be! When there feels every reason to just stop in my tracks, I am driven on by hope.
The hope is on many levels for me. On one level, I hope that one day I may still be able to get scuba lessons, or ride horses for short periods of time. On a deeper level, I hope that I can treat my run-in with fibromyalgia as just another bend in the road of my life. I have always hungered for new and varied experiences; so I hope that I can cherish the current one with FM, and learn from it; maybe one day even rise above it.
And for all future dreams and desires, I hope to know better than to think that I will always have the time for them “later.”
I hope to be able to seize each moment I have, and make the most of them, regardless of the moment itself!