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Saturday, December 31, 2011

525,600 minutes...

                  
     As one of my favorite songs so eloquently asks "how do you measure a year"?  The lyrics so perfectly describe the simple truth....


Five hundred twenty-five thousand six hundred minutes,
How do you measure, measure a year?

In daylights, in sunsets, in midnights. In cups of coffee
In inches, in miles, in laughter, in strife.

In five hundred twenty-five thousand six hundred minutes
How do you measure a year in the life?

How about love? Measure in love...seasons of love.



     That really does sum up how I will "measure" my year...the moments that involved love and joy and care.  Those times that I shared in loving and caring and laughing with family and friends.  Those times I witnessed others caring and sharing their time, energy, love and lives with others in our world.  


     That really is the truest, most sincere and honest measure of the value of the year 2011.  I am choosing to see beyond my own situation with RA so that I can find peace and satisfaction in my life.  It would be easy to simply focus on my own narrow perspective of life with RA.  But in order to have a satisfying life and to successfully manage a chronic disease like RA, we need to step outside of our own individual circumstances and view the world on a larger scale....
      When I think back to the times this year when I was not only happier but actually healthier, they inevitably involve lots of joy filled activities with family and friends...times when I was NOT isolated or alone thinking of my illness and the difficulties associated with RA.
     Don't misunderstand what I mean here....I am not suggesting that we in any way stop being vigilant about the management of this disease.  It remains absolutely critical that we attend to the demands of RA.  That said there MUST be a balance between meeting our health needs and letting our every waking moment be centered around it.  
      Without that balance I believe we will succumb to the disease. Without that balance the challenges that are such a part of RA will become more than we can tackle.  Without that balance, our lives will spin out of our control and we will fall into a state characterized by pain and depression.
                               
     This may seem like an exaggeration but it is not.  Studies have proven again and again that when you focus "outside of yourself" you are healthier both physically and mentally.  I have the honor of working with hundreds of elders who are volunteers in our community and so I see first hand how much better off they are than their contemporaries who are less engaged in life.  They seem to have struck that perfect balance that I aim to duplicate!  
     So as I reflect on this past year and look towards the upcoming one I want to strive to find that perfect balance between successfully managing RA and resolving to not focus so intensely on the disease that it defines and controls my every waking moment.   That is a tough balancing act to be sure!
I am certain that I will "fall off the wagon" in the new year but I hope that I can look back on this past year and recall that those times when I was feeling my best and successfully managing RA, were those times I was also the most engaged in life outside myself!  
    May 2012 bring all of us with RA new treatments, new tools to manage our disease, new friendships, close and lasting ties with our family and friends and maybe just maybe a cure for Rheumatoid Arthritis!


Nan

3 comments:

abcsofra said...

I couldn't agree more with you Nan! I am so ready to stop focusing on my ra and move outside of it. I truly believe that this practice does take time and when we are in a bad pain day it is almost impossible to do but try we must. Good luck with your resolution and I am hoping we can all find our peace with ra and perhaps a cure this year. Now wouldn't that be something to celebate? Did I hear someone say party time?

phat50chick said...

well said. RA can consume your life, but once you take control and learn to manage it, it just becomes a part of your life and you can go on with your life and sometimes you'll even forget that you have RA.

Me? I'm headed out to the mountains to go skiing this morning. I think it's an appropriate way to spend the last day of the year.

Happy New Year.

Jan said...

Happy New YEar!