How Do You Live Your Dash?
My favorite place to take my puppy for a walk is the cemetery. It is just a calming place to me. I love to read the headstones and think about the life each person lived; how they “lived their dash.” While we can learn from our past we should never dwell on it. And we gain nothing but stress if we worry about our future. But we can think about how we live our dash; our present life.
Our dashes are all different depending on if we are married or single, have children or if we work or are disabled or retired. And living with migraine and chronic pain is not easy. But as I was walking I thought about all the things I can control in my life to help make it the best life possible, even though I have migraine and other chronic pain.
It’s Ok to Say, ‘No’
I have finally learned it is okay to say no. And say no without offering excuses, or 10 explanations. Just a simple no and not worry about what the person thinks. It’s freeing! When I had to stop working 13 years ago I realized how much of my identity was in my job. It took me a long time to let that go and realize that it was okay to relax and not have to be busy all the time. I felt guilty for not working. Now I know how important it is for self-care. And it is okay to have quiet, restful days. After all, that is why I don’t work – I need it and it is essential for my body.
I also learned that when I have days where I feel great and overdo it (as inevitably happens), then it’s okay to take the needed time to rest and recover the next few days. Of course, I do try not to overdo it if possible, but I recognize that it’s going to happen and when it does I simply need to rest.
It’s Important to Smile
I am an eternal optimist. That is just who I am. So, I almost always have a positive attitude. I do have some down days and (gasp) an occasional pity party that no one shows up for! But one thing I have learned in this migraine journey is that even though I live in chronic pain there is still joy and beauty in this world. I can still find things every day that make me smile. Laughter and humor are healing to me. I refuse to dwell on the negative in my dash.
Some Goals for This Year
- I will keep advocating for myself.
- I will keep trying medications hoping to find the right combination that will give me pain relief.
- I will even keep trying the crazy things people tell me to try because… well… who knows? And then I will laugh that it didn’t work and wonder why I tried it.
- I will search for ways to volunteer in my new community that will be flexible with my health
- I will keep in touch with my online migraine community friends. They are my lifeline. They get me.I will keep walking my puppy in the cemetery and continue to think of how to live my dash to the fullest. We only have one life, so I want to make it count.