Monday, May 16, 2011

A matter of perspective

You know me and my to-do lists - if I'm not crossing off, highlighting, or adding an item, it must be nap time. I can't deny that my daily lists bring me much relief, allowing me to rid my busy little brain of all of the tasks (menial or not) that I need/want to accomplish, freeing up space so that I can think clearly. With all tasks recorded on paper, I no longer have to juggle them in my brain. In fact, I think once I jot something down on my list, it's temporarily removed from my memory, until, of course, I see it on my list and my memory is jogged.

Jotting down my little "to-do"s transpires all throughout the day, but it seems that my greatest brain dump comes at the close of each day. I get into bed, tell Johnny goodnight, turn off the light, close my eyes, and within about 10 seconds, at least three things come into my mind that I have to remember to do the following day. So on my light goes, out comes my pen and paper, and down go the items on my list. Sometimes, in the case of a to-do list epiphany that transpires in the middle of the night, I forgo the light, and just jot down that which is preventing me from falling back to sleep. But in the event that I can't, ahem, read what I've scribbled down in the wee hours of the night, or can't decipher my short hand - I'm at a loss.

Such was the case with a recent item on my to-do list. Here's what I'd scribbled down on the pad at my bedside, right before going to bed:

"Book toes."

Hmmm. Now what in the heck did that mean, I wondered, the following morning. I racked my brain trying to remember what in the world I was thinking of  - something with my book, obviously, but what was up with the "toes"? Did I mean "woes", or "throws", or should there have been a space after the "o" as in "give a book to..."? I tried to think outside the box - wondering if I had a book overdo at the library, or if it was a reminder to get a certain gift (a book about feet, etc.) for a baby. Despite my best efforts, I just couldn't figure out what I needed to do, regarding a book (mine or otherwise), that had anything to do with feet.

And then it hit me. "Book" wasn't a noun...it was a verb. (Kudos to the rest of you who picked up on that after the first tenth of a second. Want to start editing my to-do lists?)

"book toes" was a simple reminder that I needed to make a spa appointment for that girls weekend I took a few weeks back. It had nothing to do with Despite Lupus, nor any other book for that matter. It was a call to action - a simple "book pedicure for upcoming girls weekend" - which I was totally missing because I was simply looking at it the wrong way.

This matter of perspective is oh-so-relevant to our lives with lupus, don't you think? Situations arise daily (if not hourly) in our dealings with our disease that force us to choose a perspective: 

For example, how do I view taking a nap everyday? Do I see it as a sacrifice, or as an opportunity to recharge so that I can function normally?

How do I view the fact that I'm medicine-dependent? Do I see it as a burden, or as a blessing that a handful of pills can give me the ability to be a perfectly-functioning mother to two little lovebugs?

And how do I view the experiences I've had with lupus, those that I now share with thousands of people via my book and my blog? Do I resent the fact that I have a chronic illness, or am I thankful that I've found a way to put that fact to good use?

I can't say that I'm capable of looking at life with lupus with such perspective all of the time, but I think if we can remember to do so 9 times out of 10, we'll be well on our way to living well, despite lupus.

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