So today is my last day being 34 years of age, and for so many reasons, I’m dreading tomorrow. It’s not a fear of getting older, or the fact that my life is far from what I expected at this age. I couldn’t put my finger on it at all but today I have realised that the year I am 35 is going to be the most challenging year of my life so far. Because this is the year where I finally learn to live within my limits.
The last 5 years have been a vicious cycle of burnout, ignoring burnout, pretending to others I’m fine, either ending up in hospital or becoming extremely ill, spending on average 10 days on bed rest while my family crumbles around me and finally recovering enough that I think it won’t happen again. Repeat.
It has to stop. It has to.
This year my new years resolution took a lot of thought, but thanks to some reading up on chronic exhaustion and embracing the community of those who live with it everyday I settled on this.
Consistency over intensity. I must achieve consistent wellness over anything else. Which means the intensity of my life has to reduce. Now I know I used the word “must” above and that many people would say it’s too much pressure, but actually there is too much riding on this goal to fail.
I’ve taken a step back while I’ve been on bed rest this time and really looked at those around me who I love. Not just kiddo and my husband, but extended family and close friends. My actions have direct and indirect affects on all these people every day. And yet I haven’t tried to change them. I haven’t tried to achieve consistent wellness. Amongst all the assessments, appointments and diagnoses for kiddo I have simply tried to get back to the person I was before I fell pregnant. I was super fit, 2 dress sizes smaller, never turned down a social invitation and had a strong work ethic where I could have worked my way up as high as I wanted. This year, I say goodbye to that person. This year, I wave the white flag of defeat.
I’ve cried over this, I’ve looked over photos of the person I once was and longed for her to come back. But I’ve finally admitted to myself that she isn’t here anymore. And that’s ok. I looked through photos of loved ones who are no longer with us and seen how their spouses and children have changed too. Everyone goes through huge changes at some point in their life. I just wasn’t ready for mine. I wasn’t ready to be a parent carer, give up my business and stop working. I wasn’t ready to realise that our family plans for the future are no longer possible. I wasn’t ready to give up my most favourite hobby of exercise and fitness.
Now it may sound stupid but it’s the last point there which has caused me the most anguish recently. I have adjusted to all the other points and view my life so differently. The fitness hobby was that last piece of me I was clinging too. And it’s that that has caused my family so many problems. My husband has offered to change his job, but actually it wont achieve a thing. The only variable we can change is how often I shut down from exhaustion. And the only person who can change that is me. How do I do that? I wave goodbye to the final part of me that I used to know. And it’s really really hard.
I’m setting new goals. I’ll be doing yoga and light swimming but with the aim of energising myself. I’m going to have to let go of ideals around my weight and appearance. And I’m going to need to find a new hobby or interest to replace the piece of myself I have removed. The last part of me that I have to surrender to being a full time carer.
I don’t want you to think that I don’t want to do this. I will do anything for my son, for my husband, for my family. But I am sad. I’m very sad. So today on my last day of 34 I will let myself grieve for the person I was and how life has quite frankly beat the shit out of me at several points.
Tomorrow brings the start of a celebration. How the person I used to be was someone I loved and how it shaped me for the future. And the challenge of becoming the person I need to be for those around me now. And I tell you, no fight for a diagnosis, no continuous battle for help or support, no argument over funding cuts has got anything on this challenge.
Look out 35, I’m coming for you…
Thanks for reading,