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Trying to Plan for the Future With Chronic Illness

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I recently sat down to do a one-year plan and a five-year plan for myself. Not only is this difficult for the average 39-year-old woman to ponder, but it is with more apprehension and realism as someone who has multiple chronic illnesses like myself. Oh, I think I got another grey hair just thinking about it.


Let’s start with the one-year plan. Someone who does not have chronic illness would have more enthusiasm and ambitious thinking in regards to their physical health goals. My most recent goal was taking a bath last night to help ease my high levels of pain, and trying my best to make it through an eight-hour workday. Next year I will probably be recovering from yet another surgery for my skin condition, trying my best to keep full-time employment so I can keep health benefits, manage a couple credits a semester and work with a psychiatrist to make sure my depression meds are working to keep me on an even keel.

How about five years? My five-year vision is a bit more positive. I think because of all the things I will have endured, and become resilient from, I will have a better connection to my body, and will be able to listen to it better. I’ll listen to the joints cracking a bit more too, but I’m more hopeful that what I have experienced will make me more patient, knowledgeable, compassionate and more able to understand myself and others.

This exercise brings me to a simple conclusion. It is the pain and the struggle of everyday living that eventually will assist me in transforming and completing any goals. As I fold into my future self, I hope to remember it is the challenge that will make me stronger in the future.

butterfly sitting on flowers then spreading its wings and flying

The pain I feel now is what will make me stronger later.

There’s a whole bunch of beauty in that.

Bring on the pain.

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Originally published: August 11, 2017
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