Sometimes I feel as if I’m floating through my life without any control or a meaningful destination or goal. I haven’t always felt this way, of course, but because I am housebound most days and time passes in the blink of an eye and I can’t point to what I’ve accomplished in recent months – years actually – it’s hard not to feel adrift. It’s difficult not to feel rudderless and without direction, as I pass from one painful hour to the next. Even when I do things to feel busy, to occupy all the passing hours, it’s hard not to compare this current life to the life I knew before; and, I wonder when I’ll stop the comparison and just accept things as they are and just be.
I know from experience floating in blue-green waters of oceans and seas, that there is nothing wrong with spending time, days even, letting my body float and drift. However, those days were numbered, planned, and chosen specifically for me to do nothing else. Those were days that I earned and payed for with hours upon hours of work. They were handfuls of isolated days within a year or more. When I could leave behind the demands on my time as I disconnected from the world and plunged into the peaceful sound of warm waves kissing beaches of powdery sand or sometimes pebbly shores of stones worn smooth by the never-ceasing waves.
It feels different, doing nothing now. As if, I have not earned this time. This time my body didn’t plan or ask for. This time that blurs one day into the next. Now, as I float over different waves, waves that are not peaceful, warm, or calm. Waves that batter my body, instead of keeping me buoyed under cloudless bright skies. I feel as though I need to do something every day to earn this time; and each day that passes without me producing or completing something makes me feel indebted to some thing in the universe that I can’t see, but I can feel hovering over me. A thing waiting for payment as my pain-filled body is carried farther adrift.
I know these feelings aren’t truthful. I know these thoughts surface because I still haven’t, after all this time, fully come to terms with the reality that doing nothing most days is okay because it’s all I can do. I know that if a friend or family member was living through this illness and having these thoughts and feelings, I would tell them they were being too hard on themselves. Yet, when the challenge is our own, it’s hard to show ourselves the same compassion we would extend to another. It’s easy to know the truth but it’s harder to accept it and live accordingly.
It amazes me how difficult it is to feel comfortable doing nothing, especially when we know it’s the best thing for our bodies. I don’t know when I will accept it. When I will truly believe there is nothing wrong with doing nothing because my body needs rest or it is racked with too much pain. However, in the meantime, I feel that imagining the sensation of my body floating on waves, free and weightless, may not be a bad image to hold on to when I think of myself adrift and without direction.