How Do You Celebrate Life?
It’s that time of the year—my birthday. Eight months have passed since COVID entered my life and started to teach me what really matters – my health, my family, my inner peace.
I didn’t see the time pass by, and this time, I am celebrating my big 50. Not exactly the type of celebration I had in mind, but probably the one my body needed.
Taking a Nap
As I mentioned in my previous blog, What is Your Birthday Wish?, I am a very sensitive, critical, and passionate person.
That that brings the weight of self-pressure, high expectations, and a need to control things around me.
For the last few months, I focused solely on my family and the surprising cancer experience that trespassed our lives.
Lupus flares came and went, controlled by extra medications, a more extreme diet, lengthy therapy and acupuncture sessions, lots of stretches, and meditation. But this past weekend, I was finally able to welcome what my body was craving for – sleep, lots of rest.
Lupus and Fatigue
About 6 years ago, near my birthday, I felt the weight of lupus for the first time. The bundle that it brings combines muscle and joint pain, the feeling of impotence, full breadth exhaustion, and the frustration of not being able to do simple things.
For the past three days, I gracefully listened to my body and embraced its needs. I slept day and night like the world was ending.
This time, I had an excellent excuse to look after myself – I was put in quarantine by my doctor due to shortness of breath, and was asked to take a COVID-19 test.
While I don’t believe COVID is my diagnosis, I needed to isolate myself from the rest of my family during my birthday weekend. Doing that, I was able to give my body the best present – rest.
Happy Birthday to Me
My birthday is always a pause for reflection. It’s not easy to accomplish when my mantra is to ‘do more things that I can usually manage.’
This year was different. Fifty-years-old is a remarkable milestone.
Per my therapist’s suggestion, I decided to face my biggest fear: asking my younger-self how I have done so far. Have I managed to live a life that would make her proud?
Balance and Loving Myself
Love creates miracles, and it has been my antidote to lupus. Love is an incredible medicine that can route my mindset in a more positive direction and make me feel better at a pace faster than any other drug.
For the past few years, lupus has forced me to learn to let go of things. I had to de-attach myself from my career dreams, rebuild and redefine my priorities, and create a new identity based on what really matters. That meant welcoming new friendships, including a high dose of spirituality, and embracing a healthier lifestyle in my day-to-day routine. Lupus taught me my health is an integration of mind-body state, and when I don’t love myself and respect my limits, I get sick.
This year, on “my” day, I didn’t choose to be quiet and rest, but that is precisely what happened.
I had a chance to silently review my inner path and validate where I am today. I listened to my body and slept a lot, almost the entire weekend, day and night.
Lupus has been working on my soul more than it has impacted my physical body. It continually reminds me of the importance of good moments and appreciate them.
It has taught me to take good care of my body because I will need it until my last breath. It has taught me that it is not okay to be supercritical or a perfectionist because we all have flaws, which makes us beautiful and unique.
My mind creates my life.
For the next 365 days, my wish is to focus on small blessings and open my heart to the unknown — to blossom where I am, with or without COVID.
We are all here for a reason, which is to learn to give and receive love.