A few days ago, one of my closest friends paid me an impromptu visit with a take-out order from our favourite burger place. While we were hanging out – and stuffing ourselves silly –, he recalled how we used to get together to do things with very little planning. All it took was a quick phone call or short text message exchange to get me dressed and out the door into whatever adventure awaited us. He spoke of those shared moments with melancholy and told me how much he genuinely missed that aspect of our friendship.
I often think of those times, which leads me to fight with myself in a mental battle between what is and what was. I miss the life I had before my illness. The life that was full of spontaneous moments and the power to choose whether to be active or lazily sequester myself from the busyness of life under a warm blanket with a good book; the days when I excitedly planned adventures with the company of friends, or the solo travels I embarked on to faraway places. I yearn for it all. However, my current reality forces me to live a more reserved low-key life, with little choice sometimes about when to rest.
Unfortunately, the desire I have to live that old life again comes with the painful reminders that it’s not possible for me to run about until all hours of the night anymore – or what was sometimes very early morning – doing whatever high-energy activity beckons. The tug of the past on my current existence is mentally exhausting, and I’m still working to find a way to call a truce between these very different phases of my life. I’m loathe to throw down a white flag because I still believe there must be a way to surrender myself to what exists now, without giving up every active pleasure, in this war with my body. Until then, I’ll keep a running tally of each personal battle I come through feeling a little less sore and weary.