As a gust of autumn wind picks up the leaves, they begin to swirl around like a tornado encircling my body. The world seems to continuously rush by, like this wind on a cool, fall day or the gust of air felt as the subway rushes by the platform. I watch others running to meetings, rushing to drop their kids off at school, or trying to squeeze in a trip to Starbucks before heading to work. And as other peoples’ lives seem to pass me by, I settle into my slowed pace of living with chronic illness.
I, too, once was in a rush; through college and graduate school, between classes, research duties, studying and homework, I was lucky to find time to shower and nourish my body. Then, working my first job in the real world, the fast pace continued. And despite the fact that my body was already working against me, it allowed me to push on until it could push no more; and, thus, I began living at a slowed pace. I started noticing the strong gusts of others’ lives moving by me at lightening speed.
Sure, some days I desperately wish I could catch up. I yearn to be busy with a job I love and a social life that I can’t keep up with. But most of the time I appreciate this one aspect of my life with chronic illness. It has forced me to take my time. It has enabled me to see the light, smell the roses, and feel the wind in my hair. It has removed the blinders that so many people experience as they hurry through life. My chronic illness has allowed me to feel alive more than ever before.
A healthy body is never promised. It is a gift that can only be appreciated once it has been shaved down to its parts. Don’t wait until part of you is missing, when you are no longer one whole, healthy being, to slow down. The kids will get to school even if they are 5 minutes late. There will always be another important meeting. And Starbucks will still taste wonderful tomorrow. Stop running. Take down those blinders. And notice your foot steps. The most wonderful part of life is letting your senses connect with the world around you; and this can only be achieved by taking the time to let it in.