Sunday, January 24, 2016

1/25/16—Breathing Fresh Air

So you may have heard about Snowzilla, the massive snowstorm that hit Washington, DC. It was a full-on blizzard, gripping the region with crippling snow.  It also gave me a good lesson in letting go. 

You know how it is, it's snowing a couple of inches per hour and you know you're going to get at least two feet of the white stuff. So you're champing at the bit to get out there and clear the walkways. That's how it goes for me. I can't relax until I know I'm up to code. 

But until you've stared down that much snow in blinding winds and cold, you don't know overwhelming it can be. Especially if you're still adjusting to your chronic asthma. 

So there I was, clearing walkways front and back as the snow came down. I did that for the first six inches or so and then I had to stop. My body—my asthma—was telling me to stop. I had to let go. 

I had to let go of "the strong me" that might get exhausted and might hurt her back, but could finish the shoveling. We had a storm similar to this 7 years ago and I managed it then. But I wasn't going to manage it now. 

I also had to let go of that person who is determined to handle everything that needs handling on her own. That's a tough one. That's one I've been learning a lot over the last couple of months as I needed my brother to handle the fall leaves for me and as I needed people to care for my dogs and home when I was in the hospital. 

Lately I've been learning to let go of a part of me that has defined me and that I took great pride in. And I guess I'm surprised it's not harder for me to do. Sure, there were a few tears when I realized I wasn't going to be able to keep up my shoveling through the night...haha. Tears because, while life is SO much easier than it was for the past few years, even with my inhalers I'm going to be limited going forward. I mean, I'm seeing the edges of what is possible within the confines of the disease, and it's fully livable. But I just can't overdo it anymore. 

That's so funny to say, isn't it? "Waaah, poor me. I can't overdo it anymore!" Haha. It's not a huge disappointment, but it is something that is gone and has ended in my life. And I'm still feeling out the edges of what I can and cannot do. When I'm fully drugged up, I can do most of what needs doing around here. I'm sure I can mow my yard. I can clean up leaves, although that would ruin me for the rest of the weekend—the allergy triggers seem to take the most out of me. But those are the "new ways" I'm learning, little by little. 

I was gifted with a fresh chance a couple of months ago and I was given back my hope and my  life and my ability to move through this earth. I am incredibly grateful for that and I just keep feeling better and better. But that didn't come without limits. And I'm learning what those are over time. 

I usually have a hard time letting go of things, but I'm finding it really easy with this. Part of that is because I'm just so happy that there was a livable answer to the misery I struggled with for so many years. But part of it is that I'm digging this new health of mine and  am good with the compromises I have to make to stay here. Things like deep cleaning and raking and shoveling (btw, I was able to shovel a great deal of snow in the back to create potty trails and a circuit for the dogs to run in, and I did that pretty well, so I'm not useless. :) ) may limit me some, but nothing limits me the way I was limited all those years I was sick. And nothing limits me like thinking I've got it all figured out does, either. So gaining perspective makes letting go easier, too. 

What I'm learning from all this is that it's nice letting someone else take the load. I'm so new to that. But I'm realizing the value of it, finally. I never fully appreciated it before. And we're all going to come up against increasing limitations and an increasing need for help as we get older, so I'm just getting a head start. 

I might have thought all that would torment me. But as I sat in my living room eating a brownie and chatting on the phone with my sister today while the neighbor boy was toiling over my walkways, I have to admit: it didn't really didn't bother me at all. Letting go lets fresh air into your life. And if there's one thing this asthmatic appreciates, it's fresh air.