Thursday, June 13, 2013

The Gifts We Give Others And The Gifts We Give Ourselves

Well, I can’t believe that I’m writing this, but this is my 500th post.  Incidentally, the 5th anniversary of my blog came and went in April, and I kind of forgot.  That’s what happens when you are writing a dissertation and planning for the future, all at once.

I feel like I can say (and hopefully don’t jinx the fact that) things have finally started to fall into place for me.  I can’t disclose all of it right now, but I feel like I’ve found my niche, in life and in love.  I feel like I’ve found where I belong.   

I am slowing cutting ties in Michigan, which is harder than I thought it would be.  I will finish my volunteer position, which I have held for almost four years, next week.  As the next few months move forward, I will close out more and more of this chapter, as I am preparing for the next chapter. 

And it’s so strange.  I got sick here, and diagnosed here.  This blog began here.  I met my boyfriend here.

So many things have happened here.  I’ve been in this town for a total of 10 years.  A little more than a third of my life has been spent here.

And now I have to start over, make new memories somewhere else.

But I won’t be alone.

I’ve learned so much over the last several years, but mainly I have learned that there is life in spite of illness.  It can be very difficult at times, downright sucky, but it is possible.  I have had to accept my limitations, which isn’t always easy. 

And I’m learning to trust.  I had a lot of bad guy experiences following when I first got sick.  And it felt like it was me.  Like I wasn’t worthy, like I was damaged goods.  So I relied on people to build me up, who couldn’t possibly. 

But I have found that person.  And although I have to pinch myself some times to remind myself that it’s real, I can trust him.  And of course, I worry.  Of course there are moments when I’m sleeping 18 hours a day that I can’t imagine why he would hang around.  But I think were past that.  I think he’s here to say, and so am I.

So this is a reflection, but it’s also a celebration.  Somewhere along the way, I did something right.  I’m not sure what it was, because for a while it only seemed like bad things could happen to me.

My health is okay.  Not totally stable, but not careening through the universe at lightening speed, either.  I’m trying not to think too hard about the fact that when I move will come with it new insurance and new doctors. 

I don’t know who I’d be without illness.  That’s no longer an option.

Sometimes I don’t feel my age.  We’ll go out, have a drink or two, and I’m down for the rest of the weekend.  

But I also know myself better than I did before.

Sometimes I feel totally in control and sometimes I feel like I have no idea what’s going on.  Being sick has taught me that in many ways, we aren’t in control. 

It’s weird to think that illness may have been a gift.  It’s kind of a macabre thought.  But as I look back, I could see ending up insanely unhappy if I would have stayed directly on the path that I was on.  It took illness to make me see what was truly important, and what I am truly passionate about.

Now on the days when I can’t get out of bed, remind me that I said this.  But for right now, things are different than I expected them to be, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing. 

This is my story.  And this is only the beginning.

Just a note that my blogging may be less consistent over the next several months, as I finish my dissertation, defend it, move to another state, and begin the next chapter.  I hope I have loads of time to keep blogging, but if not, you know why, and know that it is only a temporary hiatus.

So please keep reading.

I owe so much to the community that has been created here.  So thank you, from the bottom of my heart.

This blog has been a gift for me.  You all have been gifts.  And I hope that I have helped or inspired or made you think or laugh or cry.


  1. it's so wonderful to hear you say all of this. In the time I've known you, I've seen a distinct change. You've become more self-assured, more peaceful and a lot happier. It's been good to see.

    Looking forward to sharing your next adventure!

  2. Hi Leslie,

    "I have learned that there is life in spite of illness. It can be very difficult at times, downright sucky, but it is possible."

    Wise words.

  3. So happy to read things are going well and falling into place, Leslie!

  4. So glad that things have come together so well lately. You deserve good things in your life, and I'm happy you're getting them!