As I talked about last week, just because my arthritis has brought a lot of negative things to my life doesn’t meant that it hasn’t brought some positive changes, too. But that doesn’t mean that I think that I can have a positive life just by focusing on the positive changes over the negative ones; I’ve been through too many tough times to believe that. What I know will help is by actively choosing to live a positive and happy life through making goals to do so and by repeatedly acting on them.
What My Life Is Like with Arthritis
Before I get to these goals, I feel the need to explain what my life with arthritis is like so that you understand why it’s so important to me to actively choose the good when I can. For a lot of people, arthritis means some aches and pains when it rains, when they run, or for a few minutes first thing in the morning. But for many, that is so far from the truth that it’s laughable. In my case, living with arthritis means taking over 30 pills a day and being on 2 types of chemotherapy. It means having at least 2 medical appointments every week. It means having so many doctors and specialists that I often forget which doctor does what because I see a primary care doc and at least 6 specialists. It means that I have 10 scars from my 5 surgeries, and it means that no one is under any illusion that I won’t have more. It means that I had to quit my job as a high school teacher and that I can’t work full-time or go to school full-time right now. It means that I reached my insurance deductible for the year by May. It means that my classmates and co-workers don’t blink an eye when I wear KT tape or when I stretch every couple of hours at both work and school because both are totally normal.
This isn’t life for every patient with arthritis, and it isn’t the life of every patient with rheumatoid arthritis, either. But this is what my life is like, so you can understand why I feel the need to actively try to live a positive life with everything that’s going on.
My Goals for a Positive and Happy Life While Living with Arthritis
I want to enjoy each day as much as possible – I’ve had so many bad days, especially over the last couple of years, and so many days where at least half the day is bad. This has shown me time and time again that it’s up to me to take advantage of the good moments, whether that means it’s an hour or a day, but I don’t always do that. Hopefully, I will get better at this soon.
I want to write books for the rest of my life – Even though I don’t remember it, I wrote my first story when I was 6. I’ve been writing for my entire life, and I hope to keep writing for my entire life. I’ve written and published 1 novel (Aureole) and 1 ebook (The Essential Grammar Handbook). If you follow me on Twitter and Instagram, you know that I’m also working on another novel, TLM. I hope that this is just the beginning, and that I have many, many more books ahead of me, no matter what my arthritis throws at me.
I want to have a family of some kind – For my entire life, I’ve known that one day I will be a mom. I’ve always wanted it, and I can’t remember when I didn’t. But over the past couple of years, as my health has gotten worse, I’ve gotten increasingly wary. What if I pass on my health issues to my children? I still want to be a mom, but I don’t know if I’ll have biological children, or if I’ll have any at all. I’m leaving that decision for the future, when hopefully we’ll know more about my specific case of arthritis, how I got it, and whether or not I’ll be passing it on to any biological children, as well as whether or not I’ll ever be well enough to be a mom. But I do know that I want to have a family of some kind, whether that’s me, my future husband, and dogs, or if it’s me, my future husband, and kids.
I want to advocate for myself and other arthritis patients – Over the course of the last 15 years, I have had so many negative experiences with average people, medical professionals, and laws. The vast majority of these experiences have happened because people are just not educated on arthritis and chronic pain. In order to prevent this from happening to other people, I want to advocate for arthritis and other chronic pain patients for as long as I can. People’s minds won’t change overnight; it requires constant work, on multiple fronts, and I hope that I can continue to do this work and make a difference in other patients’ lives.
I want to make the world a more beautiful place – Beyond my personal goals and my advocacy goals, I want to improve the world. I want to make it better. I want to know when I eventually die that I’ve made a positive difference in the world. To be completely honest, this phrasing comes from the children’s book Miss Rumphius (affiliate link), which I read over and over when I was growing up. In that book, there are 3 pieces of advice that her grandfather gives her: travel to far away places, live by the sea, and make the world a beautiful place. I’ve always felt that those are 3 wonderful pieces of advice, and I like to do them myself when I can. I’ve been fortunate enough to go to London, Paris, Spain, Bermuda, the Bahamas, Denmark, and Sweden. I’ve lived by the sea for my entire life except for the 5 years I was in Nashville. And now I want to make the world a more beautiful place.
How I will accomplish this – These are the things that guide me through life. Everything I do contributes to one or more of these goals. I couldn’t stray away from these goals if I tried.
What are your goals in order to live a positive and happy life despite your health issues?
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