There is something poetic about transitioning to a new year. It’s the melancholy of farewell fused with hopeful expectancy, the bittersweet juxtaposition of closing one door while opening another. Yet for a moment, I am noncommittal. With one foot in each year, I eventually shift my weight from 2020 to 2021.
My reluctance to change contrasts the nature of my disease. MS and its symptomatology require fluidity, a foreign concept to someone who thrives on control. Even a decade after being diagnosed, I am learning to stay open-minded. I am learning not to write a detailed script for my days. Instead, I use an outline as a touchstone to find my way.
There is no blueprint for progressive multiple sclerosis. Like many chronic diseases, the only constant is change. I previously felt inferior in the face of failed plans and broken promises. Exacerbations left me anxious and flustered. I spent precious energy trying to rein in my own emotions.
Multiple sclerosis is ambiguous. One cannot predict what is to come, nor can one adequately prepare. The best-laid plans will be replaced by detours. Learning to embrace this uncomfortable reality continues to be my greatest triumph. Creating goals devoid of expectation has allowed me to grow with grace. MS will change the direction in which I go. It will command that I pause and take time to heal. Yet, in the quiet, I prosper.
I have found freedom in redefining how I live with multiple sclerosis. Acceptance has replaced rigidity. The quiet interludes between the various acts of life are a welcome change. Chaos will come soon enough.
I tried to manipulate the course of this disease. My grasp on the joystick grew firmer as I lacked control. Like a tormented child, I finally fell apart. I cursed this MS and the hold it had over me. I resented the fallout, the pain, the insomnia, and the exhaustion. But emotional upheaval was a necessary evil. Only when I exorcised the demon was I able to find some semblance of peace.
Only in exhaustion was I able to receive self-love and compassion, and permission to fall off-course. Only then could I zigzag and shift without perceived weakness. Much like the new year, I began anew. I found poetic justice in bidding farewell to the old. And with a bit of melancholy and hopeful optimism, I shifted my weight and embraced the new.
Cheers to a new year.
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