Just do it. I am full of cliches. I admit I lean to the dork side at times.
Time is of the essence. So grab your life by the horns and go. Time management is a key to MS. Sew it into the core fabric of your life. Nourish it like a sensitive plant. No last minute Lucy here.
Build in extra time. I hate rushing. Now is not the time. Be the turtle. Take your time and don’t rush. I drop more stuff, if I rush. If I wait for an intention tremors to pass, I can do it. Find your own rhythm.
For example, I often get up two to three hours before mass (church). Makeup, hair, clothes, medicine and breakfast. My “Barbie arm” and a leg often are stiff. I never know how easy or hard dressing for church Might be. “Get errr done” as they say.
Time is fixed and passes at its own pace. Goals can grow, contract, adjust and evolve.
Often advice for time management includes instructions to make lists, dedicate time for tasks, be organized, get up early, multitask, do more, and just generally be different than you’ve been. While some are good suggestions, the attempt to fit an individual’s unique experience into a fixed and uncontrollable passage of time can miss the mark. It can be overwhelming and unrealistic when not considering a person’s specific life circumstances, obligations and health. When already feeling like there isn’t enough time, the advice to do more can feel offensive.
Time management seems to inherently approach the future from a perspective of scarcity. It is true there is only so much time in the day, the week, the year, and a lifetime. Each moment passes whether we’ve spent it intentionally or not. Even so, I’d rather approach the future with a feeling of abundance. There is limited time, I have limited energy and abilities, and I also have the opportunity to fill that time in ways that fulfill my needs and goals. I can do this by being clear about my immediate and long-term needs as well as my goals in each moment and for my life.
Time management advice recognizes that it can be a project to fit everything in, but it often forgets it can be effort to fill the time. I’ve had both in my life, and at times they’ve paradoxically co-existed. There were fast-paced workdays where dedicated, productive accomplishments never seemed to put a dent in the backlog, and there were evenings with long stretches of solitude where loneliness was at the ready to dominate my head space. The daily schedule of surge and stagnation with such severe contrast was exhausting. That experience is telling for how different needs and goals dictate different choices and solutions.
It’s too bad our neurological wiring doesn’t include on/off dimmer switches like some of the electrical lights in my home. The central nervous system and myelin degradation caused by multiple sclerosis are often compared to electrical wires with the outer coating frayed or damaged. It seems only fitting that we should be able to extend the metaphor and enjoy the ability to increase or decrease the current through our nerves. The fantasy of being able to turn off or dim misfiring electrical signals to my arms and legs when spasticity is acting up is enticing.
Well into July this year, summer weather hasn’t arrived where I live yet. Days are cool and pleasant, but intermittent rain and cloudy days persist.
A few days ago, I ordered an iced coffee for the first time this year. With my first sip, I had a strong sense of summer. It was an involuntary and automatic response where my exhale was one of complete satisfaction. It made it clear to me how much seasons are about more than the weather. I’d been waiting for summer to start, and I realized I can enjoy summer without waiting for the weather to change.
There are two sides to every issue. You have the pros & the cons, the agree & disagree and the ever-popular for & against.
Summer is one of those issues that is widely split. Some love it while others can’t stand the thought. As I will explain, the big difference between the two sides is all about the “h.”
“Ah Summer!” people. They thrive during this season. Basking in the warmth. Soaking up the sun in all vitamin D glory. Energy & vitality all day long.
Meanwhile, “Ahhhh Summer!” people do their best to avoid the season’s amenities. Lurking in the shadows away from direct sun. Never straying far from AC or a powerful fan.
Unfortunately, those of us with multiple sclerosis tend to be in the “Ahhhh Summer!” group. The harsh sun drains our energy like a V-8 engine uses gas driving up a mountain. Plus, summer’s high temps and thick humidity soak us further into a wretched pile of human goo. But no need to suffer my friend as there are ways to make your summer pleasant & comfortable. Here are a few of my favs…
Art that resonates with me changes depending on where I am in my life, how I’m feeling, and what I’m facing. Some things I loved at certain points in my life I love because they spoke to me at that time. I think if I were to first see some of them today, I would not connect in the same way as I did back then. I have some pieces that spoke to me during dark times that I chose to let go when times changed and they no longer brought me solace. Others have endured through life changes and still resonate.
Work may define us but it is our hobbies that makes us unique.
Hobbies give you zest. Give you fire. They put a sparkle in your eye.
A hobby is what makes you – YOU.
So don’t let anything, like the dreaded ick we call multiple sclerosis, take your hobbies away from you.
MS is no reason to give up an activity you love. Accommodations can be made so you may continue doing what you want to do.
Like to paint but can’t hold a brush? Don’t let that stop you. There are dozens of computer programs that allow you to create (and no messy clean-up!).
Like to dance but can’t stand? Take a chair onto the dance floor, plop down & shake your bootie, dammit. Believe me, you’ll have more dance partners than you can handle as others will gravitate to your spunk.
Like to garden? Get down & get dirty. I can’t walk in grass & mulch either, so I crawl through the flowerbeds slow as an earthworm. A garden gnome with filthy knees.
My point is, you can do whatever you want…by planning. Come to terms with your MS by saying “We’re gonna do it within reason, and this is how.” Then do it.