Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Why fast and furious doesn't mesh with lupus

Having just posted about my recent toolbox trials and tribulations, I've given some thought as to why I've had to temporarily divorce myself from the screwdriver. In my opinion, it's not as though I can't actually handle the mechanics of a simple nuts and bolts job. Thankfully, today, I don't suffer from constant (or even mildly consistent) joint pain, my lupus is NOT active, and I haven't had a flare in years. I can do just about anything with my hands - which most certainly wasn't always the case in years past - so I consider myself to be in great shape, lupus-wise. So why have I had to swear off even the simplest of screw driving tasks - like replacing a switch plate, adding a closet knob, or mounting a little mirror in Deirdre's new room? Why do I have to wait for Johnny to hammer in 4 tiny nails to secure a new shade on our back door? Why can't I tackle the mini-window treatment in another room? Because I fit in the "fast and furious" category, rather than in the "slow and methodical" one.

As evidenced from my toolbox charades from last week, I can't help but tackle ALL of my projects at once, rather than ease into them by doing one on one day, and then another a day or two later. It just doesn't come naturally to me to wait or be patient - which is probably why the words "slow down" or "slowly" are mentioned almost 30 times in my book. I have had to teach myself to let life march slowly by...to patiently allow my body to catch up with my mind...to let speed, perfection, and my desire for completeness fall by the wayside.

My fast and furious nature isn't anything new; I've always been like this. From my early days as a budding artiste to my recent exploits with the toolbox, I've always done things as quickly and with as much fury as possible. As a child, my mom claims that I would draw a picture as fast as possible, churning out as many as possible, rather than taking time to perfect my, ahem, works of art. I threw a softball with as much vim and vigor as I could muster, did homework as fast as possible, and continue to put efficiency at the top of my list.

I have discovered that with lupus, however, life can still be fun, productive, and enjoyable, even at a slightly slower, less hurried pace, particularly when it doesn't put your health in jeopardy.

I've learned (and am learning) to practice this slower approach in all aspects of life - at home, in my book business, and in social settings. Just the other day - I chose to throw the laundry in one day, fold it the next, and put it away a few days later. Those of you who are muttering "Tsk, tsk", have no idea how nice it was not to overextend myself over a silly load of laundry. And during this pregnancy, when walking or running vigorously (or for real exercise) isn't going to happen, I've found that taking daily albeit leisurely walks with Dar and Deirdre are just as satisfying. The fresh air, the little bit of movement - every little bit helps. And even going to the pool in the evenings with Deirdre - sure, I have to plan ahead to make sure I don't do too much in the morning so that I'm not cashed out that evening...but making plans and having an activity to look forward to is a nice thing. I enjoy making room (and making sacrifices) in order to share that time with my daughter.

So here's to the 30 or so times the concept of "slowing down" appears in Despite Lupus. Let us now practice what we preach (or write, eh?)

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