Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Lupus decisions - good tips continued

Decisions. I counted 27 of them in the master bathroom the other day. Twenty-seven decisions in that little space that we made in order for the room to turn out the way it did. Everything from choosing the type of mirror, sink and faucet, to the grout color, position of the towel ring, and kind of door stop we wanted. Not to mention the three different tile materials, and the color of the walls. Our architect made a slew of decisions even before we got to this finish stage, but thankfully, he didn’t ask our input on those. I love when he makes a show of his independence.

Clearly, a few of those bathroom decisions were weightier than others -  choices that set the tone for the entire bathroom - while others merely provided a finishing touch that wasn't essential, but made for a nice addition. In fact, there were some decisions that I never imagined I would even have to consider, the color of the grout being one of them. I remember thinking every moment I spent deliberating over the grout was one moment too long. It seemed so unimportant to me, but I was still responsible for making the choice, and I wanted to make the right one. After about 30 minutes of spinning my wheels, I called up our contact at the tile store, and kindly asked her to spin her wheels for me. She effortlessly called out the grout colors based upon the tile we'd chosen, and the look and feel of the rooms as I'd described them, and we were finished within 20 minutes. It was the best pass off of decision-making I made during the entire project. (I think my architect and contractor recommended I consult our tile lady in the first place...so kudos to them for steering me in the right direction.)
 
Of course, now that I step back and look at the bathroom as a whole, many of those decisions (including the grout) seem awfully insignificant compared to how important they felt when we were in the midst of the decision-making process. I'm thankful that we took as much care as we did, but I'm glad we didn't lose any more sleep over the ones we did make.
 
I find my decisions with lupus have followed a similar pattern. Some decisions carry a lot of weight, like my decision to start a medication, get pregnant, or ask for a work accommodation. The results of those kinds of decisions set the tone for my life with lupus as a whole, so it's important that I considered those wisely. Other decisions, particularly those I make on a daily basis, might not be quite as important. But I often allow those little ones to take up just as much time as the big ones. Just the other night, I grew frustrated over the fact that I had to decide how to spend the last hour before I went to bed. Do I pick up the house for my friends who were coming the next day? Do I write a blog post? Do I search online for a new rug for Bee's room? What do I choose, and why do I have to pick only one in the first place? Can't I just stay up for three extra hours and get it all done?
 
And so this is where it's important for me to remember the grout example. Decisions like these are not earth-shattering. In two days or even two hours time, my life will be relatively unaffected by whatever I choose. I just need to step back, and take a moment to decide what's most important, what can wait, and what, if anything, can be passed off to someone else. (Does my tile lady blog, for instance?) 
 
But even before all that, perhaps instead of deliberating so, I should rejoice in the fact that I don't have any weighty decisions to consider at the moment!

Once again, here are three more helpful hints from the list my architect sent me, all of which hit home for me:

*Choose when to choose - prioritize:

Just as I mentioned above, the import of the decisions we have to make with lupus vary. Just make sure you spend time on the ones that matter most, and are going to have a lasting impression. Let the other ones fall by the wayside. Let's learn to save our energy for the biggies!

* Be grateful for the good choices:

This has been instrumental in helping me make good, efficient decisions. Now that we're back in our house, with each day comes a new opportunity to push my limits or overdo. Maybe it's unpacking one too many boxes in a row, or pushing my nap off because I'm in the midst of searching for a new shower curtain online. Whatever the reason, I'm able to see the results of my good (or not so good) decision making almost immediately. When I choose well, I feel the positive physical effects the following day, which makes me thankful for the wisdom I used in the first place. And that only makes me want to make more good decisions moving forward!  
 
* Don't worry about comparisons to others and what others may think

Is this the crux of lupus decision making, or what? With a chronic illness, there are decisions we're going to make that others might not understand, agree with, or support. When we don't look sick, it doesn't make sense why we have to take it easy, stop to nap, or forgo an evening out. But we have to have faith in ourselves that no matter what other people may think, we need to make the decisions that are right for us. And it's in our best interests not to consider what someone else may be capable of. What's important is that we figure out what we're personally capable of, and that we do everything we can to work within the confines of those limitations so that we can continue to live well, despite our illness.
 

Just like the color of my grout, some of the decisions I've made with lupus were choices I never thought I'd have make…ever. But now that I’m here, I’m going to do my best to make good, solid decisions, without spending too much energy doing it. Twenty-seven decisions and counting!

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for sharing these thoughts, as I am coming up on a time in my life where I am faced with many big decisions. While I am not entirely comfortable in sharing all of them on a public forum, I do face decision regarding the future of my career. Your words have helped put some things into perspective for me, and for that I am quite grateful.

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