Well, the months have flown by again, but I do like to pop in here from time to time to let you know that I haven't fallen off the planet! It is the last month of the 2016 winter here in the beautiful Yarra Valley. Today is especially sunshiney and gorgeous, but it's no secret that winter is not my friend and I tend to suffer a lot in the cold months. My UCTD and fibro symptoms flare up markedly throughout this season, and I invariably start making plans to move our family somewhere warmer. Of course, Spring comes eventually and the weather warms up and I quickly forget how excruciating winter can be. The reality is that I would not move my family at this time in their lives. My boys are both in highschool (Years 9 & 7) and they are so entrenched in their friends, their sports, their schools etc, that I would not consider uprooting them. When they're grown however, things might change. I can't imagine spending my later years suffering through Melbourne winters, but time will tell. My husband, who has always found winter his preferred season, is gradually changing his mind as he gets older. He is not such a fan of winter these days either, particularly as he works outdoors.
Speaking of getting older, we celebrated a couple of milestone birthdays in ourfamily in May. I turned 40 and hubby turned 50! We celebrated with a "90th" birthday party. We held our celebration at home, so we were limited as to how many guests we could have, but I think it ended up being about 70 members of our family and friends who helped us celebrate the night.
Turning 40 is definitely something I've embraced with enthusiasm. I feel really comfortable as I enter this decade of my life. Things aren't perfect, but I'm loved more than I ever could have hoped to be; we have a roof over our heads and food on the table, so I consider us to be greatly blessed.
My health is still not great, but I've stopped struggling against that fact so much. I try not to torture myself for not doing everything "perfectly" with regards to my diet etc anymore. I have been there in the past; following the latest magical cure diet/lifestyle plan to perfection, hoping, hoping, hoping that this time I will be restored to full, vibrant health. Only it has never once worked and I end up with so much self blame and guilt when it doesn't. I feel like I must have missed something, I mustn't have been "pure" enough in my devotion to the program. If only I could have paleo'd harder, gluten free'd better, sugar free'd more fully, or organic'd longer.......you get the idea. All of these things have simply left me more deflated and with more self-blame than ever. And you know what, beating yourself up and hating yourself does. not. help. Nope, not one little bit.
You know what does help? Being kind to yourself. Living life instead of battling it every single day. After all, if I spend all my days obsessing about some supposedly magic diet/treatment plan to the point of anxiety, where is the joy in those days? If I keep putting off the things I love until I sort my health out, and that day never comes, then I will consider my life to have been wasted? For example, one of my great joys in life is creativity. Art and craft. Making beautiful things with my hands. The guilty voice in my head tells me that those things are self-indulgent and I don't deserve to enjoy those things until I've perfected my health. Hellllooooo!!! What if I never get my health sorted out? That's a scenario which, after 10 years of chronic illness, is looking increasingly likely. I really don't fancy getting to my final days and thinking "No! Wait! But I haven't gotten around to focusing on my painting, or my embroidery or my whatever!! What a tragedy that would be.
Life is ridiculously short. Maybe that realisation is one of the gifts of heading into middle age. There's no time to waste on perfectionism. Today is the day I've got. Just today.
Yes, turning 40 is a blessing. I am grateful to be here. I feel like I'm finally growing into my skin. My life may not be perfect, but it is all mine. It's rich and full and I intend to enjoy the good bits and learn from the rest, for as long as I have the good fortune to be here.