perspective

Life has been moving at warp speed.  When the man and I woke up on May 1st, turned to each other, and said (with smiles and giggles and kisses) that we were a month away from our big day … yeah, that moment feels like it happened yesterday.  And yet … we are less than 9 full days away now from June 1st.

Everything feels like it’s happening at heightened levels of emotion.  Work has been intense for both of us ~ I can’t speak for the man, but for me, after over three years of starts and stops, my company is officially opening a second location.  With that comes amazing excitement and motivation .. but also (awesome timing, right?) a LOT of work.  Sometimes, lately more often than is convenient, my brain feels like putty.

I have to say that my journey since the start of 2013 has been incredible.  Big ups, deep lows ~ a ton of uncertainty.  I’ve had to make adjustments and learn to live my life in a different way and at a different pace.  I began a post the other day in which I specifically stated that my body shuts down at 10pm.  If I’m sitting somewhere without access to a clock I can tell you within a minute if it’s 10pm.  My eyelids get heavy and all interest in anything other that sleep disappears.  It’s uncanny.

It’s funny to think that so much of 2013 has come and gone.  And here the man and I stand, on the metaphorical threshold of our shared life, looking out across our future.  It’s changed a lot since we met on a cold, rainy day in December of 2007.  And what’s incredible to me is how much has changed in the last five months.

I will be the first to admit that I have been … handicapped?… by insecurity for much of my adult life.  I will also admit I’ve made my share of mistakes, but additionally (unfortunately for me) people’s words of criticism are hard for me to forget.  I’ve carried those criticisms for many years, allowing them to chip away at me, hold me back at times, and kick my feet out from underneath me.  This year, I’ve gained a lot of confidence.  I always have my ‘self-motivation’ moments ~ when I scour the shelves at B & N and spend too much time sipping chai tea and reading advice that all basically sounds the same.  Something about this year has been different.

Last night I was confronted with a test.  I’ve spent the past few months trying to be more positive, to look at the bright side, to relax and not stress myself out.  And then ~ this person showed up, and for whatever reason, felt the need to say truly horrible things as though they were flippant.  As though it were acceptable to say these things aloud to others.  i was deeply upset, troubled ~ unsettled.  But I slept on it ~ because here’s the truth ~ I have immediate, strong and sometimes really inaccurate gut reactions.  I’m a drama queen ~ a person ruled by emotion.  Sometimes it’s best to take a step back and really look at a situation with as much perspective as you can get.

And today, with as much of that perspective as I could muster, I decided that I had been right.  Being friends with someone who is destructive to you isn’t a friendship ~ and maintaining it is irresponsible unless you are a glutton for punishment.  And here’s the thing I learned … or maybe I decided it.  I have to be okay with the people I spend time with.  And if those people try to drag me down, don’t respect me. and/or insult my family and kin purely for sport or to get a reaction ~ that’s not the kind of person I want in my life.

John said to me a little bit ago that since I chose to be positive, my whole demeanor had changed.  He said “Babe, you are actually happier since you decided to be.”  Such a huge compliment from someone who has to put up with me all the time (and in less than 9 days legally!… and forever!). I think part of that is also choosing the company I want to keep ~ happy people promote happiness.  Petty, angry, bitter people promote bitterness.  Actually, when I put it like that, it’s pretty simple.

So that’s my moment of today.  I’ve had a lot of those over the last few weeks and have started and stopped a bunch of posts.  It’s made me think about this blog, and what I’m looking to get out of it. So I’ve made a decision.  When i get back from my honeymoon (!!!) I want to refocus on cooking ~ and moving forward, the blog, cooking and various activities and adventures will have a common theme ~ learning about and living with MS.  Diet is a huge part of managing the disease, and I feel as though the man and I have just begun to scratch the surface of foods and meals that work for me/us.  I’m looking forward to the new journey.  If I don’t get back here before, I’d like to say right now that June 1st is most assuredly going to be the best day of my life.

everything in moderation

One of the very hard truths I’ve learned since January is that moderation – and more importantly, being aware of moderation – is infinitely important to my well-being.

I used to believe that if you just pushed through, you would get to the other side, you would accomplish that which you wanted, and all would be well.  Unfortunately, it doesn’t quite work that way for me anymore.

I have to confess ~ it’s humbling and really really frustrating.

Let me paint a picture.  Imagine growing up the American daughter of a Brit.  A woman who suffered unimaginable loss at the tender age of twenty-two, rebuilt her life and became a success both personally and professionally after moving to the United States.

That’s not ‘a little’ to live up to ~ it’s a boat load.  My mother pushed through all the hard times ~ stiff upper lip and turn the other cheek and ‘buck up’ and all that jazz.   Additionally, as I started to deal with all my baggage, she was soldiering through her own ~ much more gracefully and with incredible focus of purpose and positivity.

It’s been a rough few weeks for me.  I hesitate to admit that, because I don’t want to seem weak, or as though I were exploiting my health for attention or to be given consideration.  I’m trying – with various levels of success – to keep living as normal a life as possible.  It’s not always easy.  I’m very tired.  And for the past few weeks, as I struggled through a flare and IV medication (among other, equally fun, things) I have had to come to terms with my limitations.

I’m not sure which is the best word to describe it ~ angry, sad, impotent ….  My brain floods with descriptions, but my body is paralyzed from action.

Last weekend the man and I ventured north to visit his home town, and after eating highly processed meals saturated with sodium I knew that even though I didn’t always feel it, our diet makes a huge impact on our lives.  I knew that sleep played as big a part as anything ~ and that stress absolutely triggers my symptoms.

No more could I will myself to do as I bid.  My condition has made me be honest with myself ~ revelatory.

Here’s the truth ~ in a nutshell, and as I  know it so far.

Sleep is my friend.

A balanced diet is my friend.

Green smoothies every morning make me (and my body) happy.

Gluten does not.

Two or three glasses of wine are my limit.

I have to focus on work/life balance ~ otherwise, I can’t see a thing.

Sometimes (more often than not right now), I have to say no.

Saying no doesn’t mean I’m weak, or a failure.

Water – lots of it – is my friend.

Life shouldn’t be stressful, (other than work ~ which really can’t help itself).

Loving your job is a blessing ~ be thankful.

Having someone beside you who understands and supports you is invaluable.  Seriously.

 

I’ve found that when things feel a little overwhelming, making little lists like the above helps me keep things in perspective.  Every day I learn something, every day I hit a road block I wasn’t expecting … but the truth is that those things don’t always have to do with MS, and trying to get myself to see the bigger picture is a good exercise.  I do have to walk my own journey, and I have to be comfy in my own moccasins.  It’s really easy to look around and compare my journey to others ~ but it’s not really helpful or healthy.  Those are things I have to remember.

 

let’s hear it for the boy

I meant to hop on here yesterday, but here I am, a day late again.

In 30 days the man and I will be saying “I do” and in honor of that, I thought I’d share a few pics.  It’s a really exciting time ~ but also full of so many things ~ I hope that when I look back I remembered to take enough time to savor it.  It’s a huge promise and one I am humbled to make.  My best friend, my sounding board ~ my partner in crime always.
This was in our very first year of dating.

Is he not the cutest thing in the whole world? Unconditional love.

 

 

 

Us at Longwood Gardens to celebrate my 29th birthday.  We love Christmas!

 

 

 

At Alex’s Lemonade Stand’s Fundraiser, “The Great Chef’s Event.”  We were lucky enough to go in 2010 and 2012. We’ll miss it this year because we will be on our Honeymoon!

 The one time the man got me to dress up for Halloween ~ and I actually had a lot of fun!

One of my favorites ~ Dinner En Blanc Philadelphia last year.  I love that we do fun stuff together like this ~ I’m really hoping it happens again, but so far, I haven’t heard anything.  Makes me sad … but glad we did it last year!

 

Our four year anniversary last year.  This year, we’re upping the celebrations.  But boy oh boy do I love Va La Vineyards.

 

This one is an oldy ~ back when my hair was pretty blond!  It’s funny to look at pics and realize that even though you don’t think you’ve changed all that much … you have! I love John’s smile in this picture.  Too bad I look so solemn!

 

 

This is funny ~ our very first Art Museum date.  We talked about going from the very first conversation we ever had.  It took us over four years to get there.  Silly us.

 

 

 

 

One of my all time favorite pictures ~ wearing our football gear, out in Wyoming’s early morning, driving through the parks.  It was such a great trip.

 

John’s funny face.

 

 

 

 

 

 

My funny face.

 

 

 

 

 

 

He’s the love of my life.  I can’t wait for June 1st.  xoxo