There’s nothing like a enormous, old-fashioned calamity to get my creative mojo in maximum overdrive.
Last month I experienced a big one. I lost my job of 18 years. Holy crap! Don’t ask me about the details. Trust me, you don’t want to know.
I took the news on the chin, packed up my office, drove home and crawled in bed. Then I proceeded to cry, scream and freak out in more ways than I thought humanly possible.
Fortunately, with the support of friends, family, wine and miscellaneous drugs, I avoided a trip to the crazy farm.
Still, I was left with quite a challenge. How is a middle aged woman with lupus, who has an extremely photosensitive skin condition, chronic joint pain, increasing cognitive dysfunction, kidney damage, central nervous system deficits, anemia and minimal physical endurance going to find a well-paying job? How is she going to find a job that allows her to be absent from work every three weeks so she can go to the hospital for day-long infusions? How will she pay her bills and health insurance premium?
A life of crime had too many start-up costs. And I didn’t want to cash in my vast fortune of inherited wealth.
Instead, I decided to trust the process.
Sometimes, you just have to rely on optimism that even if your life seems like it is going down the toilet, it probably won’t. Change is hard. Life isn’t fair. Having lupus sucks. Being unemployed sucks even more. However, I firmly believe there is a process that will keep me resilient and open to all these changes, as long as I have a little faith.
I’ve spent the last six weeks spinning a lot of plates. I filed for unemployment and got my resume updated. If I can find a job where I can work in incandescent light, take frequent breaks to rest, accommodate a zillion doctor appointments, be relatively stress free, and make enough money to afford increasing medical expenses … great. But I also applied for disability because my health limitations are pretty crazy and aren’t going to miraculously evaporate any time soon. Realizing I can actually qualify for disability is hard to accept. My doctor had a great way of explaining my stress, health and work challenges and living with lupus. She said “just because you can drive yourself to the office doesn’t mean you can actually do your job.” Mind you, I haven’t turned into a full-fledged nut case but check out this work-related-stress site called Cubicle Freak Out.
Trusting the process involves realizing your limitations, emotionally and physically. And I have an ever-growing list of both.
Trusting the process also means that if you’re lucky, people will help you get through the bad times, as well as celebrate with you when life is good.
Trusting the process helps prioritize what is truly important. And I’ve come to understand that it isn’t about where I live, or what I may or may not do for a living. It isn’t how much material stuff I have accumulated or what kind of car I drive.
Trusting the process is realizing that my overall health is my biggest priority. I want to live long enough to enjoy my family, friends and future grandchildren.
To that end, I will soon be moving to another city and live with my sister. I was eight years old when she was married and left home, so this will be a new adventure. I’m grateful and looking forward to sharing her big house, her patio, her garden and most of all, her company. I’m hoping to devote more creative time to blogging, photography and painting, making jewelry, cooking and helping my sister manage her home. My sister is such a blessing!
Life is not a static experience. One day I lost my job and before I know it, I’m starting over in a new city. And once again, living with lupus has changed the quality of my life.
Trusting the process does make a difference. Try it.