When asked what I do, I often tell people I’m a stay at home, work from home, wife and mom. I work 2 jobs online, but I am also a full time wife and momma to a two and a half year old little boy. Despite what some people may say, working outside of the home or not, maintaining and keeping a clean and organized household, cooking, and taking care of a child is a full time job. I don’t care who you are! But, when asked the question, of what I do, I often remember I technically have another full time job as well. And that job is having MS. Having MS, to me, isn’t just having a disease. It’s a job, and it’s a chore. I’ve written about this in many other articles, but since having my son in August of 2015, I realized one of my top priorities as a mom and as a wife was to take care of myself. The fact that I have Multiple Sclerosis is one of the main reasons I took the plunge to do so. Before having my son, I was more of a go with the flow kind of gal. I still am, in some aspects of my life, but with my MS, I’ve decided to live more intentionally.
Living intentionally and with purpose
A really great quote by Ralph Marston says, “The quality of your commitments will determine the course of your life.” If I could go back in time and tell my younger self anything, it would be this. It would be to live intentionally and with purpose. We have the opportunity to make the big and bold choices in how we want to live our lives. Each new day is full of choices and opportunity. We get to pick our attitude and choose what decisions we make. We can either let the negative choices of our past define us or we can choose a new pattern of life for the future. And, after I had my son, I woke up one day and decided that it was time to lay a new foundation for my life. I decided to reevaluate my passions, my abilities, and even my weaknesses.
Finding the power to make my foundation stronger
Life is a lot like the game of Jenga. If you’re not familiar with Jenga, let me tell you about it. Jenga is a game of physical skill. Players take turns removing one block at a time from a tower constructed of 54 blocks. Each block removed is placed on top of the tower which creates a progressively taller and more unstable structure. When the tower becomes too unstable, it then tumbles, leaving you to start over again. In life we do the same thing daily. We build this tower of blocks, and life comes in and takes out little pieces, moving them around until we are too unstable to stand properly. Sometimes, one wrong move and the entire foundation around you falls and is destroyed. And, for a long time I was making all of the wrong moves in my life. I kept wondering why everything around me was crumbling, but had not yet grasped the concept that I had the power to make my foundation stronger so that my life didn’t topple around me. I had the power to take out the right pieces, move them around, and decide when to leave other pieces in so that my structure wouldn’t be so wobbly. And life as I know it is a lot like that still today.
Learning how to take care of myself
I chose to live intentionally because I want my life to hold up in the long run. And my biggest choice in deciding to live with intention and with purpose was to learn how to better manage my body, my time, and how I took care of myself with this disease. Again, life is a continuous game of making choices. So, I decided that it was time to stop comparing myself to others. It was time to stop waiting around for what I wanted to happen and to make it my reality. That is when I chose to become more aware of my body and my health. I chose to make a lot of lifestyle changes and to transform my diet and daily activities. When I say that having MS is a full time job, it’s because in my opinion it truly is. The way I was living in the past wasn’t doing me any justice. I didn’t take into account what I was putting into my body or how I was exercising daily. I was selfish in my choices and wasn’t thinking of how it would effect me in the long run. After 12 years of living with MS, I realized that if I didn’t make a change that there would be a very good chance that I would have an unhealthy future filled with more pain and issues. And, I didn’t want that for myself or for my loved ones.
Being better equipped to fight MS
I know with MS, we can’t exactly change the course of our disease and we can’t always prevent bad things from happening. But, we can do everything in our power to strengthen our bodies so that they are better equipped to fight when MS wants to have its way with us. Since my lifestyle change almost 3 years ago, I have personally seen many of my most devastating and painful symptoms disappear. I have seen firsthand how eating better, and working out really does change how you feel. I have seen how taking care of yourself physically is a cycle and how that physical health strengthens your mental and emotional health also. I realized with living intentionally that I had the power to say that the way I was once living was not the way I wanted my story to end. I get to choose my ending, and I wanted a happier and healthier one. And, because of that choice a few years back, my foundation is much stronger. I am much stronger.
I can withstand the uncertainty
I’ve learned how to balance my life in such a way, that even if a piece is taken out, that I can still stand strong. I can withstand the uncertainty. Sure, I still have days where in my “Jenga game” if one piece is taken out I do get wobbly and sometimes everything becomes a mess. All the other pieces of life seem to spill around me. But, where I once would have left the pieces in a heaping mess, I now have the physical, mental and emotional strength to learn how to stack my pieces again so that my structure is stronger and more stable than it once was. Living intentionally has taught me that sometimes something hits and we fall and struggle, but it’s never too late to learn how to reevaluate our decisions and to learn how to do things so that in the end, each piece of our life is neatly stacked. We have to balance each job and decision in life so that at the end of the day we’re still solid. Some days my jobs are stacked perfectly and leave no room for error, and others they’re stacked haphazardly and uneven. That’s life though. How we learn to live on the days that the pieces fall is what makes us stronger in the end.
Some days are tough with all of my responsibilities and the weight of MS, and I mean really stinking tough. But, every day I learn ways to help myself remain balanced and to help myself overcome. And once again, my lifestyle changes and choosing to live intentionally have helped me with that. What are some ways you’ve learned to live intentionally and with purpose? What are some ways that you are able to keep your pieces of life properly balanced so that one wrong move doesn’t leave your tower a mess around you?