It is easy for me to get bogged down in all that I can’t do. I naturally and frequently bemoan the fact that I have so far to go, when I really should be jumping up and down at the progress I have made in the past six months.
Today I went grocery shopping, and I started comparing the difference between grocery shopping today and grocery shopping this past winter. I really need to stop and reflect more often, because as I stopped and compared for a moment, the difference was enormous. In the past, when I would go grocery shopping, that was literally the only thing I was able to do for the day and I would often have to rest the day before and after. I would go in the morning when the parking lot was empty and the store was less crowded. I would go through the store one time, and if I forgot something I would just have to get it next time. I would have to plan it on a day my husband would be home so he could carry the groceries in and help me put them away. Then I would crash for the rest of the day, unable to do much of anything else (if anything at all).
Things were so much different today. Grocery shopping no longer feels like an insurmountable chore. It feels difficult and tiring, but manageable, and I can now take my time as well as carry in the groceries and put them away without flaring. Grocery shopping still took up a good portion of my energy today, but I was still able to do my exercises and making something for dinner.
So, I started to think that I should record other things that I can do now that I couldn’t do six months ago.
- I can do a three minute tai chi video three times a week.
- I can go out to eat or hang out with friends for a few hours without huge repercussions.
- I can do one small activity outside of the house almost every day without needing rest days in-between.
- I can make it through a whole shower without needing to sit down.
- I can make food for dinner that tastes good instead of food just because we need to eat.
- I can spend most of my day writing or doing productive work on my computer without having trouble concentrating.
Life with chronic pain is full of ups and downs. Who knows if the next six months will find me in a better or worse place than I am in today, but just for a moment, I am celebrating all the things I can do today that I couldn’t do six months ago.