After I gained a lot of Prednisone weight a few years back, I would look in the mirror and the image I saw didn’t reconcile with the image I expected to see. The weight gain was so fast that my brain just couldn’t accept it. It was as if I was seeing a stranger in the mirror. That’s how I feel about my whole life right now.
I have had a lot of time to read lately. I’m not working, I can’t do a lot of activity, so I read. I read novels and historic literature, but I’ve also been reading a lot that falls into the self-improvement and personal development categories. I’ve been reading about personal finance, minimalism, and health. I’ve been thinking about which aspects of the things I read I’d like to adopt, and which I’d rather not. I’ve been thinking about my future, including where I’ll live and what career I’ll have if I can work again. Unfortunately, too much of what I want to do just doesn’t align with my capabilities.
In my mind, I’ve gotten rid of my car and I walk where I can, take public transportation, and ride a bike the rest of the time. I have a great career in a new field. I save money by getting rid of my house cleaner and fixing things myself instead of buying stuff to do it. I travel more, but on the cheap, including road trips and camping (assuming I get over my arachnophobia first.) I take up hobbies that are interesting, fun, social, and active, like sports teams (there’s a local lesbian/bi softball team I’d love to join), biking clubs, or hiking. I’d date more. I’d date a lot, actually. And there’s so much more.
Over the years, I’ve often wondered what my life would have been like if I’d never been sick. I know that in a lot of ways, I’d be a very different person. And I’ve had to accept that I’d never know for sure. This time feels different. I feel my health improving, but I just don’t know how far it will go. Maybe one day I’ll be able to clean my own bathtub without being in a ton of pain afterwards. I doubt I’ll ride a bike, though. I haven’t done that since I was 16, and the body parts that are stopping me are unlikely to improve. Maybe I could travel more, but I doubt I’ll ever be able to sleep in a tent without intense back pain. Starting a new career sounds nice, and I’ve been gathering information from friends and people online, but is it really possible? Will I ever have a full time job again?
I think about the person I want to be, and I just don’t know if I can ever get there. I want to so badly. I have insurance companies and government bureaucracies saying that I’m healthy enough to do these things, but if I were, I’d do them. Really. I know some people would rather just take the money and sit back, but that’s not who I am. I want to LIVE my life, not just watch it pass me by. I just wish I knew how to make it happen. If it can, that is. Because the person I see in the mirror isn’t who I really am. I want to be me.