A few years ago, I would have defined “achievement” in a different way. Being chronically ill, I have learned to set my goals with greater flexibility. Looking back at this year which is soon going to end, I see that I have done all the things that I wanted to do, although I had to alter my schedule various times.
Of course, this is extremely frustrating for me.
First of all, I am terribly impatient. I love to get things done, I want to get it over with and move on. Bad luck. My life has changed and I have to adapt to its new rhythm.
Second, there are some chances you only have once in lifetime, some windows of opportunity which open for a short while and close again. It is still hard to let them pass now, but sometimes I must. I try to take a long view and weigh their advantages and disadvantages carefully. Surprisingly, concentrating on a few open windows can be more rewarding than getting lost between a dozen of opportunities. People used to tell me so – now I can finally see it.
Third, there is the aspect of shame. I feel ashamed when I stay in bed, sleep and cure my infections. Don’t say: “But that’s normal!”. It is okay if you are sick a couple of times per year. It isn’t normal any longer when you are sick half of the time. It is hard for me to acknowledge that I am not the person I used to be. My ambition has not been reduced, but my energy level is lower. I don’t like this at all and I don’t think I ever will get used to it.
My willpower still works as a starter motor, which is great. My timeline, though, is not as stretched and straight as it used to be. It is more like a chewing gum: Sometimes compressed and thick, then extended and thin. The basic raw material is approximately the same, but more elastic. By being flexible I still manage to achieve my goals and I am proud of it.
It might sound crazy to you, but for many spoonies getting out of bed each day and having a shower is an achievement. I can get more things done normally, but on some days leaving my bedroom is like running a marathon. I know that when the time comes, I will have to be flexible enough to adapt my plans even more.