I Am 50 Years Old and I Am Enough
Last updated: May 2020
I recall watching an interview with Michelle Obama. She spoke about a hiking excursion in which one of the participants was unhappy about their hiking experience. This participant watched the differences in the various styles of the other hikers. For instance, some moved quickly but took multiple breaks, yet others moved slow and methodically and didn't break at all.
She was comparing herself to others
There were those who seemed to appreciate the scenery and those who seemed oblivious to it. The hiker thought, how was she to hike? Was what and how she was managing her hike right or wrong? She couldn't enjoy her experience because she was busy comparing hers to everyone else's instead of finding her own way to enjoy her hike. She didn't realize that she was enough to create her own great experience.
Celebrating each stage of life
I thought about a friend of mine who, upon her 30th birthday, was feeling less than celebratory. She felt like she'd not accomplished in her life the things she 'should' have. She felt that she was not where she 'should' be, and that she was 'behind' where other 30-year-olds were at that age. As a result, she couldn't appreciate the brand new year she'd been given where, for example, she could continue to be with her children and watch them grow or even that they still had their mother - no matter 'where' she was in life. She was unable to recognize that she had a new year to still strive towards reaching her goals or even set new ones. Her focus on all those other circumstances didn't allow her to celebrate something many haven't had the opportunity to see - a 30th birthday. What my friend failed to understand was that she was enough despite where or what she thought she 'should' be or have.
Comparison is the thief of joy
The hiker that Mrs. Obama spoke about missed what could have been an awesome new activity by comparing her technique to others instead of focusing on making the adventure her own. My friend lost what should have been (in my opinion) the chance to revel in a happy, special time for herself, family, and friends because her focus was on what wasn't. Unfortunately, due to the act of comparing, neither realized they were enough. Perhaps it's my recollection of the words of Theodore Roosevelt, "Comparison is the thief of joy," that helps me to value me and my life solely according to my terms. Hence, enabling me to know that I'm enough.
I face many challenges due to MS
Ten plus years ago, I was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. I'm human, so I undoubtedly have thought about things I haven't done, things I wanted or would like to do. I face challenges that others my age or even my senior do not. My ability to pick-up-and-go like the days of old have expired due, primarily, to the loss of independence stemming from symptoms which have robbed me of much of my fine and gross motor skills.
I know that I am enough
I'm cognizant that many with MS can still function quite well while there are plenty who cannot. It can be attributed to the stage they are in, if they're able to or choose not to take symptom management medications or DMD's, or there may be other factors. However, remember that MS is referred to as the snowflake disease for a reason - it can affect each person so differently. The bottom line is that MS is a difficult disease and incomparable, so my focal point must rest on a healthy emotional wellbeing, which cannot include beating myself up for what it is, what it isn't, what I have and what I can't do. It works...I am able to respect my life as it is and know that I am enough.
Celebrating my 50th birthday
I am proud and grateful that I just turned FIFTY years old, and I wholeheartedly celebrate that gift! I feel empowered! After half of a century and despite various adversaries along my 5-decade trajectory, I am here and quite excited to complete my century. MS and other happenstances may cause hindrances though I am determined to keep on keeping on until I can't - and without the weight of comparisons of what I do, how or if I do it, and so on. Maya Angelou motivates me; "You alone are enough. You have nothing to prove to anybody."
It's my golden year and with or without MS, anything, or anyone else, I am indeed enough. Happy birthday to me!
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