“The moon doesn’t consider one phase better than another; she just glows, equally stunning at each turn. Why should we be any different?” – Cristen Rodgers
This past weekend I turned 45. Aging really doesn’t bother me. I really do embrace aging and getting to know myself better each and every year. There seems to be a level of ease that takes place each year that allows me to let go of things that seemed oh so important in my earlier years. Something I do every birthday is focus on ways I have changed and grown from the previous year. It is necessary for me to reflect on these changes and accomplishments to realize how much I evolve each passing year.
Birthday celebrations are certainly different for me at this stage in my life. They are now about spending time with the people I love. It is not about having a party. Or rather the party looks different. No longer do I aim to have a large gathering where we stay up really late and consume too much of everything. Food, alcohol and even laughs. For my 40th birthday, we went to Mardi Gras in New Orleans. It was fantastic and we travelled with lovely friends and took part in all of the stuff. Lots of restaurants, bars and late nights. I had a blast. That was exactly what I needed at 40. However, at 45 my cycle has changed. That is what I need. I woke up the morning of my birthday to a violently ill husband. He would not be taking part in anything for the weekend except frequent trips the bathroom. Of course I was sad that he was sick. I never want to have people I love not feel well. But I was able to prioritize his well being over my need to be the center of attention from him for the day.
Luckily for me, my mom and sister’s family were up for the weekend. I went out to watch my nephews hockey game, joined them for breakfast, visited some markets with my mom. I then checked in with my husband and went out for dinner with my family. My mother was supposed to spend the evening at our house. I was worried about her catching whatever bug my husband has. I told her it would be better if she stayed at the hotel with my sister. She leaves for Mexico on Monday. That is all she would need to get sick right before leaving. She seemed concerned that I would be upset that she was staying with my sister instead of me. I understand why. There is always a bit of competition for time between my sister and I, more on my end. I think only siblings can relate to this. From being young girls who fight over objects and your parents’ attention, there for me has always been some lingering over that competition especially with my mom. Having a chronic illness has increased that for me. My sister gave my mom grandkids and I feel like I have just given her extra work with me and something to always worry about. That makes me cling to time with her. However, this time there was a shift. I wanted her to stay away so she didn’t get sick. There was no lingering feeling of “she likes my sister more than me.” This may not seem like a big thing to most of you, but that letting go for me was a huge shift. That cycle of competition for me seems to have shifted to a more mature place. I think things will be smoother with my relationships with my mom and sister from this change.
The next day, I went out to a member of my MS support groups 80th birthday party. It was a lovely celebration of a man named George who I have grown very fond of. He is always happy. He always says that our MS group is a family and truly believes that. He is always there to chat with a smile. He has lived with MS for more than half his life but he doesnt let it define his life. I’m sure he has had many ups and downs, but is still always there fighting. He is exactly what I want this blog site to be about. Celebrating the positives life has to offer. George always says he wants to live to 100 and I am sure he will. A perfect day celebrating a perfect soul and life. His life has followed many cycles as everyone’s does. He is still here recognizing all the good the world has to offer.
After that, I went to visit another member of my group who has moved into a long term care facility recently. Darrell is 53 and many people would be depressed and resentful at the turn their life has taken. He was an RCMP officer before. However, he is not in that space. He is certainly still adjusting to the change in location, but is starting to look at how he can make the most of it. He has met some people that are becoming friends and is looking at ways to get out more. He talked to me about the fact that he is going to be teaching a course for the other residents on ways to avoid hypothermia in this cold weather we have in central Alberta often. I have no doubt that he will become a valuable, funny member of the family in the home he has moved into.
Life is not perfect for anyone. We only have to one life that we are given though. All we can do with the shifts in our world are to move with them and not against them. Part of the reason why I always reflect at my life on my birthdays, is so I can recognize and learn how to embrace those changes in my own life. It is always helpful for me to look around and see the positive examples around me who are also going with the flow and making their lives as positive as they can be. Do George, Darrell or I love the fact that we have MS? Of course not. But we are all here fighting to make our lives the best they can be. Never stop fighting to live your best life. Cycles will happen. Change always does. Sometimes I paint a lot. Sometimes I don’t at all. However what life experience has taught me is that I will paint again. The moon always comes out at the end of the day whether you had a day filled with tears of sadness or from laughter.
I am heading on another cycle to Cabo San Lucas later this week so I won’t be putting out a post for a couple of weeks. Rest assured, I will cycle back.