Even long before M.S., my life was nuts. Of course it was all due to my own choosing; it’s definitely my own fault. I push myself to extremes – to be the best, to have the best, to do the most and do it the fastest. I’ve written before about my path to reinvention,my control issues, my extreme Type-A, fast-lane personality. For years the hubby has preached to me that even if I won the lottery, I’d still be pushing myself, working two jobs, volunteering like crazy, always putting myself into crazy life situations. For the same number of years I’ve been fighting back, telling him that I’m changing. I’m slowing down. I’m craving normalcy over superiority. I really am.
I didn’t really know how to characterize what I’ve been looking for until the other day. A gal named Pamela posted a response to one of myHealthTalk blog articles. My understanding became clear through her words. Her full posting is below, but within it she wished for me a life that is about as exciting as watching paint dry. At first I thought: “Yes! I want a life like that. I’d love a boring, dull, calm, and relaxing life watching paint dry. I’m owed a few years just like that. I’ve made my bones, paid my dues, worked my tail off, gave up valuable and irreplaceable time and energy.” (Can I person earn a living watching paint dry? I have a beautiful new garden gazebo that isn’t paid for yet. What’s the hourly rate for paint-watching anyway)?
I think that thought pattern lasted for less than 24 hours. I felt a little ridiculous. I thought I went off the deep end. I knew I wouldn’t be fulfilled. Drying paint is boring. I don’t want “boring.”
Obviously, I don’t think I want something that extreme, but it’s equally obvious I’ve been craving something just a tad bit different than what I have now — especially now that I have M.S. No. I’m not using that as a crutch. What I mean is that now I have a little challenge in life. I’m not 100% on my game like before. I have my health and my longevity to think about.
I still want a full life. I still want to work a highly viable, visible, and important job. I still want to make a difference, to inspire change. I like nice things, but I don’t want to measure my worth upon them. I want less stress and more fun. I want more time with my family and friends – and a career that supports that work/life balance. In fact, I often push myself outside of that balance, completely on the fault of my own, not my employer. With this thing called “M.S.”, my truly good days are limited. I want to maximize the fun in my life. I want to save up energy to go to the beach and hear a guitar player on a Tuesday night, instead of rushing home to go to sleep because I have three, big meetings the next day that demand my attention instead.
Ah, there’s the word I’m looking for. BALANCE. I want to find a balance. An even keel. I’d be more than willing to go without any major life surprises or excitements for a few years. I’d be perfectly fine with a simple, calm, fun, yet still engaging life. Somewhere between splashing the paint on the walls in seven minutes flat (just to get the project done because it has to be) and sitting in the corner for hours in deep thought, watching the paint dry.