Stop and Smell the Roses

“Some people confuse acceptance with apathy, but there’s all the difference in the world. Apathy fails to distinguish between what can and what cannot be helped; acceptance makes that distinction. Apathy paralyzes the will to action; acceptance frees it by relieving it of impossible burdens.”

– Arthur Gordon

Good morning, everybody. Things have been a little quiet around here again, but not for a negative reason this time. I’ve just taken time away to have a good rest, and a good think about the meaning of life. Sounds very deep and dramatic, I know, but it really wasn’t. It was just a matter of giving myself a good talking to, facing up to the obvious, and adjusting the attitude in a big way. I’ve been feeling overwhelmed, paralyzed, and helpless for too long now, and it needed to stop.

Old habits die hard, and I had some really bad ones forced into me during my growing up years. Limitations are not acceptable, and I always have to be stronger and do more than everybody else, regardless of the situation. Everyone around me can fall down, but I must stay standing, no matter what. If I wobble ever so slightly, the critics will descend like a flock of vultures, only too happy to peck the flesh off my bones. I should be able to ignore the critics at this point in my life, and I am getting much, much better at it. But the one critic who needs to be worked on the most is myself. Even when I manage to tune out everyone else, there’s still a harsh voice in my head, chiding me for being “weak and lazy”. If I had a dollar for every time I heard that in my youth, I’d be a very rich woman now. And, of course, if you hear something often enough, you believe it. It has always been totally untrue, and I know that on an intellectual level. But the child who was so hurt by criticism and who was made to feel so “unworthy” is still lurking inside. And she’s the one I’ve been talking to over the past few days. I had already begun the conversation in my head, but the comments a couple of posts back really hit home in a big way. Thank you, ladies, for helping to nudge the thoughts in the right direction.

I haven’t actually acted on anything yet, as I’ve been too busy thinking. But there is definitely a new game plan taking shape. A plan that no longer involves fighting tooth and nail against my physical limitations, and a plan that centres on my actual needs and abilities, rather than what I and others think I should be doing. Some changes will be implemented immediately, and others are possibilities for some time in the future. One of the future possibilities is a move to an apartment, should things not get any better over the next couple of years. Our house isn’t huge by any means, but with such limited energy, I can’t maintain it to my liking, nor is the yard maintenance and gardening as enjoyable now. There’s also the matter of it being a two-storey house, and of the washer and dryer being in the basement. To someone who doesn’t have CFS, it probably sounds bizarre when I say that climbing a flight of stairs several times per day can be very tiring. On laundry days, when it’s up and down two flights of stairs numerous times, it’s totally exhausting. The apartment idea was suggested by Richard and Stephanie a couple of years ago, but I wasn’t ready to consider it then and totally balked at the idea. Now, however, I’m definitely seeing it in a much more positive light, for a number of reasons. Like I said, though, it’s just an idea at this point, so I’ll say no more about it now. Who knows what will happen over the next couple of years? But it’s nice to have an easier option in mind, should nothing change for me healthwise. Just knowing that it’s available will go a long way to combatting the overwhelmed feeling in future!

But back to the stop and smell the roses bit, that really is the key to enjoying life, isn’t it? Life just isn’t much fun when I’m so wrapped up in reaching for the unattainable stars that I don’t notice the flowers at my feet. Well, the stars can stay where they are now. They’re nice to look at, but it’s no longer necessary to feel them in my grasp. Maybe I’ll have the energy to reach for them again one day, but for now the bouquets of flowers within easy reach are quite sufficient.

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