I am currently in Washington DC celebrating the birthday of my current best friend. I drove up earlier today and we spent the afternoon together. Then, a group of us headed out for dinner (sadly, Yu was not in the cards) and then to a concert. It was a really nice evening.
Considering how yesterday I was going on and on about how this wonderful birthday party was ten years ago, I've been sick the entire time, yadda ya, it seems interesting that today I went to another birthday party.
No, it didn't involve vast quantities of booze and Peking Duck, but it did involve vegan chocolate cake, which was pretty darn good.
I'm not grateful I had an eating disorder. I don't think anything will ever make all of that crap "worth it." I believe in trying to use the crap to fertilize something useful, but let's not forget that crap is still crap no matter how useful it might be. So yes, there's the crap, but there's also the stuff it's fertilizing.
Without the eating disorder basically interrupting everything in my life, I'm not entirely sure it would have occurred to me to start writing. I may very well have been happy as a research scientist--I'm guessing I would have--but I also don't know that I would have dropped everything to start writing. Recovery has given me a certain amount of guts, the ability to put it all on the line and learn to deal with the consequences. (I suppose you could say I did this a bit with the eating disorder, but that was also less than rational and driven by fear rather than ambition.)
No, I'm not grateful. Yes, I still get sappy and sad and such when I think about how much time was wasted. But at the same time, I have to remember to pick myself up and practice radical acceptance . I am where I am. The past sucked. There's no getting around it. Prolonged moping, however, really isn't in my personality. I have many less-than-admirable traits--ridiculous stubbornness, low frustration tolerance, anxiety--but moping isn't one of them, even when I am severely depressed.
In a sense, my life has come full circle since that birthday party ten years ago. I am older and wiser and weigh a few pounds more. I have more compassion but less bone density. And I once again have friends with whom I can celebrate birthdays, even without vodka and chopsticks.