Chronically Fabulous at Fifty

By Wanda

Do you make lists? I do. Tons of them. So many lists!

Contacts, recipes, shopping lists, allergies, to do lists, appointments, doctors, medications, surgeries, conditions, test results, books to read, health studies… I make SO many lists!

So, medications — 27 at the moment. Some daily, some as needed, some I’d rather skip but can’t. The ones I need to keep with me at all times, the ones that should be available but aren’t always needed, the ones to back up the ones already taken that didn’t work…

Um, doctors — general practitioner, neurologist (x2), pain management, hand/arm surgeon, spinal specialist, ENT/allergist, rheumatologist, general orthopedist, cardiologist, gastrointestinal specialist, podiatrist, shrink… yeah. I rely on the ‘My Chart’ app to keep them all straight, cause I sure can’t.

Chronic Conditions — the fun part — there are more than 20. No, I’m not a hypochondriac; this is my reality. This list includes: Ankylosing spondylitis, chronic fatigue autoimmune disorder, PTSD, chronic migraine (20 out of 28 days a month), Barrett’s Esophagus, bilateral Ménière’s Disease, brain lesions, fibromyalgia, osteoarthritis, fused vertebra, a rebuilt wrist, OCD (hence the lists), and so, so many more.

Yes, I am disabled. I’m also fabulously fifty as of 3 January, 2019. How can someone with so many lists be fabulous? By choosing it. It’s a mindset. It’s a daily choice. It’s necessary!

Each list, each item on those lists, is a chance to let my spirit become either bitter or better. I choose better. Let’s face it, we all have burdens we carry with us. We all know people who are struggling. We know people who have battled or at battling cancer. Both my father and I are survivors, but we lost my cousin to cancer.

Being fabulous is all about how you see yourself, how you see your life, and how you see the world around you. Perspective is EVERYTHING when you want to be fabulous. It isn’t about perfect make-up or hair or clothes or a perfect body (obviously!). It’s about your attitude. It’s about what you concentrate on when you first wake up. It’s about whether you choose to focus on what you CAN do, or what you CANNOT do. It’s about moving forward, about reaching out to others, about random acts of kindness.

I choose to rock a short spiky haircut because long hair was too hard to care for due to spinal issues. I rock some awesome cats’ eye tinted glasses to help with the migraines. I choose to rock cute leggings with loose tops because they don’t hurt. I choose to compliment random people, to make someone laugh each day, to give from my heart when someone has a need.

I try very hard NOT to let my conditions get me down, but accept that will happen at times. I have medical and non-medical support systems in place. I choose to interact with other people with chronic illnesses who uplift and support each other. I choose to weed out the negative influences in my life and cling to the positive ones. I choose to make changes to my day, or even week, as needed without feeling guilty for “healing days”. I choose to be open and honest about my life in the hopes it will help someone somewhere.

I’m looking forward to this next decade. There are so many medical advances happening! I’m excited about new migraine treatments, about taking up kickboxing (modified for my needs), about Smart Crutches that will make walking distances safer and easier, about dying my hair purple, about sewing again, about making plans to meet dear friends I’ve never seen in person, about photographing sunsets and sunrises, about writing more, about painting again, about so many things!

What are you excited about?

What can you change in your morning routine to boost your spirit?

What “thing” have you been wanting to do, that you aren’t?

What personal “risk” like spiky purple hair have you been wanting to try?

What books have you been putting off reading?

When was the last time you committed a random act of kindness with no hope of return?

When was the last time you complimented someone just because you could?

When was the last time you smiled at people you passed during the day?

When was the last time you treated yourself to time with friends?

When was the last time you called someone just because they were on your mind?

There are so many ways to be fabulous. Each day is a chance to change how you view your world. What are you waiting for? You don’t have to be 50 to be fabulous! It’s all about your attitude. Go forth and be a fabulous impact on yourself and the people you come into contact with every day!


Header Image Credit: https://www.pexels.com/photo/astronomy-dark-dawn-dusk-573238/

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