I realized sometime last year that I have lost myself over the last few years. I am not the person I was seven years ago before I got sick. It didn’t happen all at once, but slowly somehow I disappeared. I no longer do the things that I used to love. And I would rather stay at home any day rather that going out. So I am curious what makes you happy? I mean really happy? What makes you smile? What do you enjoy doing? Do you sew or crochet? Do you prefer to read a book or binge watch Netflix? Do you enjoy going out with friends, Or would you rather stay in by yourself? I ask because I’m curious, I wonder if I am the only one who’s life has been impacted by their illness. I wonder if I am the only one who has totally lost themselves.
At the beginning of a new year, I always take some time to look back at picture, blog posts, emails, and journal entries from previous year. And this year was not different, however I did notice one main theme. Something I haven’t noticed in years past. I noticed that i lost my smile. While some one else might not see it, I can. In very few pictures do I smile. I mean really smile. Not the fake one that we all have perfected over the years to cover up whatever we may be dealing with that day. I mean a happy down to my soul kind of smile. The kind that comes when you laugh so hard you almost wet your pants. Or when you’ve spent the day with someone you really care about. I miss that smile. But where did it go? How did this happen? How do I find that person again? Sadly, I may never know.All I can do now is look to the future and work on finding the person I used to be.
As I was scrolling through social media yesterday I stumbled upon a quote that really struck me. It really made me think about this 2018, and how I want to do things differently in 2019. “You can’t go back and change the beginning but you can start where you are and change the ending!” - CS Lewis. This couldn’t be more true. None of us can go back and change what has happened in the past or how we responded to things. We can’t change the cancelled plans or the days spent in bed. All we can change is how we do things from here on out. So I am going to do that. I decided that this year I want to find my smile. I want to find my happiness again. I want to find the Amber, that somehow got lost in the midst of everything.
I know that I can not be alone in these feelings. I know that many of you reading this have also lost your smile or lost yourself in the course of being sick. Everyone always say it won’t happen and they have some grand plan to prevent it. But somehow it happens. Then comes the task of finding yourself again. Finding your hobbies or finding The people you can spend time with and be your true self. But how do you go about that? How do you find yourself? There is truly no right or wrong way to go about this. And the best way is to spend time with you. Spend time doing the things that you used to enjoy, or pampering yourself. It doesn’t matter what you do, above all you just need to take some time to spend with yourself.
It is no secret that a chronic illness can be time consuming and life changing. One illness can take over your life, but then you add two, three or four more and it feels like your life revolves around your health. I hate that it happens, but it does. Just like a new relationship or a new job, an illness can change everything. It doesn’t have to be that way though.I know that is easier said than done. But it can be done. Personally I have not been good about making sure that my health doesn’t take over my life but that is going to change. 2019 is going to be a year of STRENGTH and SELF-LOVE. I am going to spend the year focusing on me. I want to get back to reading,. and getting out and spending time with my friends and family. I plan on doing something everyday just for me. And I encourage each of you to do the same. I encourage you to do something you enjoy everyday. Even it is only for a few minutes. Focus on you. Journal, read a book, call up an old friend and catch up. Do something for you. I know this may sound selfish but it is essential. We all have to take time for us or eventually the person we knew may slip away. And you will be in a place like I am, realizing that you have totally lost the person you used to be.