Have you ever read something that impacts you so much that you keep going back to it? I have, many times. Recently, I’ve been returning to the quote, as seen above. “I promise myself that I will enjoy every minute of the day that is given me to live.”
Attributed to a Vietnamese Buddhist monk, Thich Nhãt Hanh, who travels around the world for speaking engagements and retreats. He’s also an advocate for peace. Did I mention that he’s 91? I’m only 44 but there are days that I feel 200. And I generally don’t travel beyond a 10 mile radius.
It made me wonder, can anyone make that promise? Somehow I imagine that he can, especially since he said it. I bet there are countries around the world where people can live up to that promise. Places that can boast of regular vacations for all, healthcare for all and longevity. I picture beautiful the beautiful people in the movie, “Eat, Pray, Love”, drinking wine and eating fabulous meals. That’s not my life, or the life of anyone I know. LOL.
But can we make that promise? Too often, we get clobbered by “real life.” For most people, the everyday concerns about jobs/finances/healthcare/family care take priority status. People simply cannot enjoy every moment. There aren’t enough hours in the day. Throw health issues onto the pile and you’re just asking too much. Getting a life-changing diagnosis is too much.
I don’t want to get maudlin about it all. But if I’d asked the same question of myself ten years ago, I probably would have cried. That was pre-pump, pre-spine surgery, pre-real relief. Things were difficult. I was difficult to deal with I’m sure. Maybe not all the time, but I’m 100% sure my family coped with a lot. I’ve written about this in previous posts, so we don’t have to relive it now.
“I promise myself that I will enjoy every minute of the day that is given me to live.”
There’s another quote, from the movie “You’ve Got Mail,” that I often think about, and never shared with anyone. As I sat in the theater – crying over the fictional romance between Kathleen Kelly and Joe Fox – I was struck by a simple comment made by Meg Ryan’s character: “Sometimes I wonder about my life. I lead a small life – well, valuable, but small – and sometimes I wonder, do I do it because I like it, or because I haven’t been brave?”
It’s a good question. I’ve started and stopped so many projects because I didn’t think people would like it or I just didn’t have the energy. And that was before RSD. Since my diagnosis, of RSD and lupus before that, I’ve been just brave enough to carry me through each day. Baby steps brought me back to life, becoming a substitute teacher and a costumer. Way too many times, my husband had to convince me not to give up, that I could manage.
And what about enjoying things? Since I’ve started school again and started to feel more like a “normal person,” whatever that is, I’ve warmed up to the concept of happiness. Personal happiness. I’m thrilled for others and I’ll be the best cheerleader anywhere when it comes to my loved ones and friends. But it took a long time to wake up the idea that – medical crap or not – I’m entitled to be happy, to enjoy life.
Getting sick is awful. Your life stops in those awful moments, “You have ——.” I know for a fact that when my podiatrist looked at my foot and said the words, “I’m sorry, but I think you have reflex sympathetic dystrophy. It’s rare, but I think you have it,” the air got sucked out of the room. I could hear him talking, but it was like listening through a fish tank. It took years for life to improve, to even consider happiness.
I can already tell that this is rambler. I’m sorry to those of you who’ve gotten this far. And a GIANT thank you if you’ve made it all the way to this word without asking, “What the heck is she going on about?”
My life is blessed. My health has reached a somewhat steady pace of calm, (famous last words), even with my knee, arm and back issues. Even with the day to day discomfort. Even with…. blah blah blah. My small but valuable life is worth every second and I should try, even when the fatigue is kicking me down, to live my best life.
That said, my best life may include days when I can’t do more than walk to the store or make dinner or just sit and binge on Netflix & gummy bears. Maybe I’ll power through days when I can get to Manhattan and walk around for hours. The days when I have a class and have to drag fabric or texts, I will revel in those days. I accept that those moments may be my happiness. Happiness that we’re eating sometime before midnight. Happiness that there are new episodes of a favorite show, (Hint, hint “Bosch” and “Stranger Things.”). Happiness that I can look up and see the magnificent texture of a tall building. Happiness in supporting those with the same diagnosis as me, to help them on their bad days as they help me with mine. There’s power in that.
If that is enjoyment, then I can make that promise. “I promise myself to enjoy every moment of the day I am given to live.” And I’ll mean it.
Wishing the same for each of you. You’re lives are worth it. You deserve to enjoy each day, even if it’s just a moment or an hour. You deserve it. ❤️
Be kind to one another.
Peace and painlessness,