Six Things I Can Do Today That I Couldn’t Do Six Months Ago


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.

  1. I can do a three minute tai chi video three times a week.
  2. I can go out to eat or hang out with friends for a few hours without huge repercussions.
  3. I can do one small activity outside of the house almost every day without needing rest days in-between.
  4. I can make it through a whole shower without needing to sit down.
  5. I can make food for dinner that tastes good instead of food just because we need to eat.
  6. 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.



  1. You know, I have never really sat down and thought about things I can do now that I couldn’t six months ago. But this really made me think! There’s so much I can do that I am thankful for, and still so much that I take for granted.

    1. It was a really helpful exercise to think through how I have practically improved. Of course there are always times when I am in a worse place than I was six months ago, so it’s not always applicable, but I will keep thinking through this as long as it is!

  2. I simply love this post and I’m delighted that you are able to do that bit more.
    I don’t quite do the exercise you mention but there’s a walk that was my ambition when I began to get on my feet after terrible first years with ME in 1995-9. It’s about about a mile and a half each way and there’s lots of markers along the way ~ a big house at 500 yards, a quarry at 1 mile … Every single time I pass the house 500 yards in, I think back to the day I saw reaching that as a HUGE achievement.
    I really think that the thing most people don’t ‘get’ with ME, anyway, is the repercussions as one can seem so okay while out but the invisibility 24 hours later isn’t noticed!

    1. I can so relate to this! I do not have ME, but it has been interesting to me that of all the different conditions people talk about, it is the one that I can most relate to in terms of the payback that comes after exertion. When people describe their ME, I always feel like it describes me exactly even though the symptoms are different. It gives me hope that you have come so far. Hoping that the walks that feel insurmountable to me now will be easy a few years from now.

  3. So glad that you are able to do more and you have reminded me that even what may seem a slight improvement to someone else is a major change for me and we need to embrace that 🙂

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