Unlike My Younger Days, I Now Appreciate Life’s Mundane Moments
When I was younger, I often yearned for a fast-paced life. As a teenager, I rarely got to leave the house by myself. I coped by working on novels while locked away in my hot, stuffy bedroom. I loved writing in silence, but a greater part of me really wanted to get out of the house more often.
Now and then, I’d beg my parents to let me go out with my friends to eat out or play video games at the arcade. To me, the excess sensory stimulation of the arcade felt like a welcome change of environment.
Some of the best times I had as a teen involved traveling with my mom or my entire family. Going to new places and seeing new sights always made me buzz with life. It was the opposite of how I felt on typical days.
In college, I was known among my peers as a carefree risk-taker who was always down for an adventure. I’d flit from one place to another, explore distant areas of the city, and do lots of impulse shopping. I never said no to nighttime excursions to random places, or to drinking with new friends at an odd hour — never mind if dawn was just breaking.
While I do have loving memories of my thrill-seeking youth, I’ve now reached a point in my life where I want to slow down. I have a family of my own now, and all of us are unique individuals. My husband, Jared, has severe hemophilia type B and a seizure disorder, while I was recently diagnosed with ADHD and bipolar II disorder — which perfectly explains the impulsive tendencies I had when I was younger. We have a 3-year-old daughter.
These days, my energy is largely spent working a full-time job and taking care of my loved ones. As such, my emotional space is limited.
Whenever Jared has a bleeding episode due to his hemophilia, our emotions tend to run high. He’s either in pain, anxious, or impatient about getting better. I try not to be affected so I can serve as his rock during tough times. But as a natural empath, I find this extremely challenging — or even impossible. Because I feel for him, it’s hard not to feel with him, too.
Likewise, when my mental health is in a poor state, Jared worries about me. As patient as he is with me, I acknowledge that managing my fluctuating mental states can be overwhelming for him.
Chronic illness flare-ups can feel so emotionally exhausting that once the wave retreats, I feel a renewed sense of appreciation for life’s regular programming — those times when nothing special happens. I can’t believe I’m actually saying this, but I’m learning to appreciate the mundane. The boring days now serve as a welcome respite from the emotional demands of life with chronic illness. It’s nice just to be able to plop onto a comfy bed or couch and binge-watch a beloved TV series while munching on snacks.
These days, I delight in uneventful activities, such as going to the grocery store, picking out new furniture or decorations for our home, or just walking around the neighborhood accumulating steps on my fitness tracker. Knowing that our situation doesn’t always permit us to do these things makes me appreciate them even more. Even the simplest activities feel a lot more enjoyable when I savor the moment.
I still love adventures, traveling, and the like, but I’d now much rather plan them in advance and think of trips as an opportunity to relax and unwind.
Note: Hemophilia News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Hemophilia News Today or its parent company, BioNews, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to hemophilia.