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The Lesson I Learned After Party Planning With a Chronic Illness

Last night Nick and I hosted a Murder Mystery Dinner Party for eight. We cooked and served a three-course dinner, transformed our room into a tropical island paradise and entered our character roles with great homemade costumes. Normally, this morning – the morning after – I would be feeling very sick and would have to stay in bed for at least the rest of the day. This morning was different. OK, I had a terrible night’s sleep, but that’s pretty normal, and I’m feeling exhausted (but pleasantly so), but there was one difference.

I let go.

I would normally have made all of the food and drinks myself, cleaned the house from top to bottom, and scoured the earth for the correct costume. Having had a good think about the potential consequences after the party and just before Christmas and the impact it would have, I made some challenging changes to my behavior. I asked for help. It wasn’t easy, I like to think I can do everything; I like to think I know my limits. Rationally I know I can’t do everything and that I never stop at my limits and consequently make myself feel worse mentally and physically.

We asked each couple to bring something. We prepared easy one-pot meals the day before. We chose costumes that were easy to put together and wear. The decorating became a fun morning. I actually bought and threw away disposable plates and glasses (not happy about that bit but it was convenient and saved work the next day).

A close friend, one of the guests, has just been diagnosed with a chronic illness and after a chat on the phone I realized the party was about a group of friends getting together to have fun, not to check out my housekeeping skills. So I did a quick tidy and left the rest. Guess what? I didn’t worry about it and had a great evening! I think I’ve learned a valuable lesson.

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Thinkstock photo by g-stockstudio