I remember when I worked at my last job, this time of year, illness would run rampant through the office and during the quiet parts of the day, there would be this symphony of coughing and sniffling and other mucus related noises coming from all corners of the office. Super annoying. When I started working from home, I was excited because I figured my exposure to pathogens would be reduced. Introduce Bailey, my in-house disease vector – bringing home the best illness public school had to offer. So this fall, I’m working from home, not seeing Bailey or any other public school kid for that fact regularly , and I’m thinking terrific – I’m going to be healthy as a horse.
Now, I know that there are tenancies to blame one’s mother for many issues they face as an adult, but in this case, there is a clear cause and effect relationship. I have seen my mother twice in the last month. BOTH times, within a few days of seeing her, I have come down with a horrible, exhausting, mucus producing illness of which my mom already had. And my dad wonders why I don’t visit more….
So, as you probably know by now, I belong to an awesome group on Facebook of women who like to travel all over the world. When one of them needs support or advice about something travel related they often post in the group looking for some wisdom from the crowd. Tonight, there was a girl who had some apprehension about traveling alone due to some personal issues and I saw it and there was something about it I really identified with and so I sat down and wrote her this super long comment. As I was posting it, I was looking at what I wrote to her and I thought, why is it so easy for me to be so kind and encouraging to this stranger and not to myself. I’ll spare you the bulk of it, but this is the part, I need to keep reminding myself:
We’ve all got something that makes us fear going out into the world at first. But here’s what I see – if you are brave enough and strong enough to deal with life’s issues head on and ask for support, there’s nothing you can’t do. Really – if you can do that, there’s nothing you can’t do. I have never felt more in charge of my own life and stronger than I did on that trip. When I start to doubt to myself, I literally say to myself, “you camped alone at the Grand Canyon, who does that?” and remind myself of how strong I really am. It’s your life. Write your own story and make it a good one.
This got me thinking – what do I want my life to be? Do you know what you want? I mean just because we started on a path doesn’t mean we have to finish it. Sure, people are probably placing bets right now on how many more cats I’m going to get in the next year. But that’s the beauty of life – I don’t have to be a crazy cat lady unless I really want to be. I can be J-FO –world traveler, J-FO bringer of weird home crafted gifts, J-FO perpetual student and decide I need another degree or anything else I want to be.
I think maybe we should work through this together. I mean, just because you have a house and a dog and 2.3 kids, it doesn’t mean your future is written is stone. Who do you want to be? How to want people to remember you? What adventures are waiting for you?
On that inspirational note, I’m going to puff on my inhaler now and blow my nose. Thanks again mom.