Pacing myself is something I have never really had to think much about. As a busy-body type of gal, my curious mind has continuously kept me active; I often have my hands in several projects at once, in addition to having a full social life.
When I was diagnosed with MS 3 years ago I was told I would have to slow down my fast-paced lifestyle. Truthfully I didn’t really understand what they were asking of me, as I didn’t think I was going all that fast to begin with. I’m sure some of the people reading this can empathize all too well.
I tried to slow down as best I could, but “slow” to me is a relative term. I continued to work on several projects, volunteer, maintain a relationship and my social life. Doesn’t sound that slow, does it? While I got away with this for a while, my recent relapse has forced me to find a sort of equilibrium, a healthy balance that allows me to stay active and involved without overdoing it.
What I have learned in these past few months is that having balance and getting the most out of life are not mutually exclusive to one another. The key is to try and find new challenges, interests and hobbies that suit who you are at this moment in time. If there is opportunity to share your hobbies with your friends and family, even better!
When it comes to work, easing back into it is important. I thought I would go back to work full throttle, but after my first day back I realized that might not be the best thing to do. This is where having acceptance of who you are in the moment and being honest with yourself and others becomes very important. This does not mean you can’t work up to a full time work schedule again, it just means it’s ok to take it easy and draw boundaries for yourself. Let me tell you this is a very liberating feeling!
I have learned not to push myself too much and accept that spending time with friends might mean more nights in rather than out, but hey who said nights in can’t be fun?! Crafting with friends, hosting a potluck or having a movie night with wine and popcorn are great ways to spend time and create memories together.
Still, from time to time, I get the feeling that I’m not as fun as I used to be. I get this feeling mostly because I can’t be as spontaneous as I once was, and because my energy level has changed so dramatically. Feeling like that is never easy, but going to a concert, shopping, or contributing to a potluck are still well within my capabilities. I just have to plan well so that I have the energy to do them.
I would like to thank those of you who have been patient and supportive with the changes I am faced with. Thank you for making me feel that no matter what pace I am going at, you are still there and ready to have fun together; I cherish my friendships, and your understanding and support mean the world to me.
My new pace is a work in progress and it changes every day. I am not quite the hare I used to be, but I am also not the tortoise. I am somewhere comfortable in the middle and I work to accept this, and be grateful for it, every day.