On Her Own

Lessons From My Life

Yesterday, I underwent a fairly major medical procedure to fix some longstanding back problems that finally got bad enough to require treatment. My doctor says it went well and I’m recovering now, but as we head into this weekend, I have a few things I was reminded of that I want you to think about too:

I was able to have this procedure done because I’ve been holding back money for a rainy day. This was the rainy day. It was technically elective, but my quality of life should be greatly improved by it. I didn’t know that I would do this when I was saving the money, and I’m still holding back an emergency fund for truly time-sensitive necessities that might come up, but having a rainy day fund can give you the ability to splurge on the things that will make your life better when the opportunities arise, even if they weren’t and couldn’t have been predicted.

In the immediate aftermath of the procedure, the pain made me lightheaded and nauseous. It was frustrating and embarrassing, especially after having endured the procedure with barely a peep. My doctor and his staff reassured me that my reaction was perfectly normal, even expected, but even that was difficult to accept. You know one thing that really helped though? One of my friends who has endured similar treatments texted me not only were similar reactions common, they had suffered the same themselves. Like I talked about earlier this week, sharing the difficult things can help people feel less alone, and less alone is less shameful. That is why telling our stories is so powerful, and so necessary.

Speaking of shame, one of the things that struck me last night was that the people who have seen me at what I consider to be my worst are the ones who seem to admire me the most. And similarly, the people I am most impressed by aren’t the ones with amazing accomplishments, but the ones that I have seen overcome obstacles and challenges. Perhaps what they’ve managed to get done in the end isn’t as big or exciting when viewed all on its own, but the hill they climbed to get there? That’s meaningful all by itself, and it turns out that a lot of people recognize that. So be a little less afraid of showing your vulnerability. Allowing people to see it is a sign of strength, not weakness.

Plus one thing that the very independent of us need to realize from time to time is that it’s important to allow yourself to be taken care of. I know that many of us are used to making do for ourselves, or caring for others even at the cost of ourselves, but you don’t have to be that person all the time. Allow people to see that you are in need, and allow them do things for you to make your life easier. If it helps, sometimes they’re even actually paid to do that. Other times, they’re your friends and family and they love you. Just like you want to show how much you love them by taking care of them, they want to do the same with you. Let them.

Finally, even if there’s nobody to take care of you right this minute? Take care of yourself. Recognize what you have gone through, and allow yourself to recover rather than simply charging on to the next thing. It’s okay to take a rest. Nobody will think less of you if you do, so you certainly shouldn’t. Me? I’m going to go take my own advice now. Have a good weekend, folks. Get some rest.

Hi, I'm Annette.

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