I'm now 65 ... well, in 30 days. I was diagnosed with Myasthenia Gravis at 51, and had already been on Disability for Fibromyalgia for a number of years.
Do you know that one friend who's more of a "frienemy?" They will always push you to turn loose of your past, and to look forward; they push you to be your best version of you in the "now," because yesterday only matters as a place you learned lessons. Sometimes they try to over-parent you, telling you that you really shouldn't do things that you really want to do; and if you ignore them, they're right there the next day, clicking and shaking their head and saying "I told you so."
On a bad day, my "frienemy" stands mutely by waiting for me to finish trying to compare the things I could once do on a bad day with the things I can now do on a good day. On a good day, my "frienemy" reminds me that the past isnt where, or who, I am now, and that I'm more resilient than I'd ever dreamed I could be.
On a bad day, I feel my "frienemy's" eye-rolls as I read off the names of friends and lovers, actual and potential, whether they're lost in fact to MG's presence, or their possibility is avoided because MG won't leave me alone. I think of the career I could have, straining my eyes to see the distant horizons of travel that will not happen.
On a good day, MG pulls out a chair and says, "Let's talk, girlfriend. Which of those actual friends and lovers, and especially that last ex ... WHOO-WHEE ... was worth even 1/3 of what you poured into the relationship? You know, you'd probably still be with that last one if it wasn't for me!" And I sincerely say thank you, tears of gratitude in my eyes. The relationships past taught me the lessons I needed. The people that really matter are still with me. On a good day, I see more clearly, and realize that those potential relationships I choose not to pursue because of the constant companionship of MG are ones I *choose * to avoid. That's not on MG, that's on me.
On a good day, I can be objective. I can realize that, though I'd actually really like the career, and really love the travel, my "frienemy " has allowed me the time to explore different avenues more completely. My MG has allowed me the chance to spend more time painting, and has taught me, through necessity, new techniques. And while I no longer have the rush and bustle of airports or long winding foot-rambles through new lanes, byways and thoroughfares, I can go so many more places, experience not only new and exotic locations, but live a multitude of entire lives through books.
In all, as with most close companionships, there are good times and bad; times when I rage and kick at the stalls, and times when I can sit in peaceful contemplation ... and even in happiness. I know that sounds totally at odds with having a chronic illness, and I wouldn't ask for it, or wish it on someone; but:
If I live my life each day, each moment ... as a parenthesis in eternity, rather than as a comparison to others (including the "was-me") ... then it's a life that still has joy, still has meaning, and is still worth living. I did not chose Myasthenia as my companion, but it has taught me how to be my own companion, and my own best friend.
MG has taught me that:
The purpose of the journey IS the journey, not the destination.
It's okay to not always be okay, as long as you don't live there.
Needing help isn't a weakness, asking for help is courageous and accepting help when its offered is a tremendous strength.
We need to practice the same patience with ourselves that we automatically give to others.
Learning to let go of the *was* and live in the *is* is the only way to successfully move into not just the inevitable *will be*, but the infinite possibility of *can be*.
Learning to love ourselves and know ourselves as SO MUCH MORE than the body we inhabit is the pathway to truly loving others, and is the purpose of our existence.