Friday, October 30, 2009

Sjogren's Syndrome Can Be Ho-Hum

Image found here.

It seems like just yesterday when John and I lived such busy lives that we would have to sit down together with our calendars and schedule uninterrupted time together. Sometimes, these dates would mean simply going for a quick walk together, others, a full-fledged hot dang put on your dancing shoes and hire a babysitter we're going out on the town outing. Every day seemed jam-packed with stuff. Kids and work and school and church and activities and lessons and laundry and housework and all the stuff that all young families do. John and I would sometimes say half-seriously to each other that we looked forward to being bored someday.

Well, guess what? That day, at least for me, is here.

It has sneaked up on me. Yes, it did. It has been five years since I hung up my stethoscope, yet early on in my illness, I was focused on just learning to survive and adjust with my new challenges. I still had kids living at home. Life's pace definitely had slowed considerably but still......I was learning about autoimmune disease, and those kids, even as young adults, had a way of livening up the day.

Now that they are all adults with lives of their own in a city three hours away, I find that I wish I had never even kiddingly hoped to be bored. Oh, thanks to cell phones and texting and facebook and instant messaging, the kids keep John and I close and very involved in their daily lives. And I love those weekends that we all are able to spend as a family.

But I miss the doors slamming and my sprits rising as I hear the kids coming and going. I miss cooking big pots of soup that will be eaten in one sitting, and knowing that when I bake pie, it had better be pies plural not singular since one is never enough when the whole crew is at the table. I miss going through the pockets of their blue jeans as I do laundry and laughing at the strange stuff I find. I miss the phone ringing off the hook and knowing that in all likelihood, the call is not for me. I miss asking, "where are you going and with whom and when will you be home? I'll be waiting up."

I miss the challenges and feelings of accomplishment of a job well done that came with working. I miss the camaraderie of being part of a working team and the opportunities for socializing. I know full well that I am a nosy person, and working provided endless opportunities to dive head-first into fascinating life stories and interesting situations.

How did all that change so quickly to leave me here, today, twiddling my thumbs?

I can honestly say, that before AI entered the picture, I never remember feeling bored. I may have occasionally felt frazzled, thought there were not enough hours in the day, worried that I wasn't providing enough quality time for each of the children and my husband, frustrated by conflicts and challenges at work....but I never felt bored. As a matter of fact, the word bored was a dangerous word for any of my kids to utter, because if they said it, I happily gave them lots and lots of ways to not be bored, as in chores around the house and yard.

The pace of John's life has not changed as drastically as mine, thank goodness. When he steps in the door in the evening, he's met with three enthusiastic doggie greetings and an equally enthusiastic wife. All the details of his day that previously didn't get the attention that they deserved are now fascinating to me. The poor guy is forced to recite a litany of his schedule of meetings, what he had for lunch, and any office scuttlebutt, which he does with patience and good humor, bless him.

He's not the kind of guy to ever elaborate or exaggerate. Sometimes, I wish he would. Those after-work stories could really use a little spicing up. Gee, maybe he could perfect his juggling skills for me. Or work on some other equally entertaining talent.

I guess my point here is that I've come to realize that it's time for me to take my own advice that I used to give the kids. Bored is as equally dangerous of a word for me as it used to be for my kids - meaning that it's my responsibility, not anyone else's, to seek and find rewarding experiences to fill my days.

I'm working on it.


Wendy said...

To help fill the gap after having to slash my work hours--and after several years of getting adjusted to ( and really bored with) living with AI--I recently joined my state's Master Naturalist Program. The learning, volunteering, and especially the socializing have filled the bill to get me up and out and having fun. Volunteers in our class vary widely in age and physical health. There's such a wide range of volunteer opportunities that it's easy to choose activities and a schedule that fit my abilities. I'm getting the outdoor exercise I love--and missed--so much, and finding I'm not as disabled as I thought! There's also a Master Gardener program in many states.

Julia Oleinik said...

Hi Wendy - WOW! What a great idea. Sounds as though there's nothing ho-hum about your life.

Anonymous said...

I can certainly understand this. For an alternate point of view, I got excited when I realized last week that I was bored for the first time in many years. It meant that my brain was working enough to think about that and that my body was cooperative enough that I could do something.
To have them both functional enough , at the same time, was a new experience. I am looking forward to it happening again and have compiled a to do list , "just in case."

Julia Oleinik said...

Paula, what a great way to think about boredom. I really like your list idea. I may just do that too! Thanks for the input.