#250 Prioritize

This was one of my least favorite words when I was a little girl. I wanted to both have riding lessons, and to save up money for travel. I wanted a puppy, a pony AND I wanted to paint my whole room and all my possessions various shades of blue. Whenever my plans got really wild my father would say, "No Anna, you can't do everything, you have to prioritize." Which I soon understood was a boring adult way of saying that I couldn't do whatever I wanted.

That's how I learned that "prioritizing" usually meant having to make a difficult choice - choosing to NOT do something in favor of doing something else.

During my recent pain flare (which thankfully is over for now thanks to Hilde, and her Pilates & Yoga classes) I had a new rendezvous with "prioritizing" and it brought back one of the worst aspects in the painful reality of life with chronic illness.

When you are weak, running out of spoons, you have to choose carefully what to do with your time and energy. For example you can either go to physiotherapy OR go to dinner at your parent's house, but you can't do both. Getting out and doing stuff that brings me joy may reduce my pain and even give me extra spoons, but I know I have to pace myself, and that if I overexert myself I can provoke a flare and then get even weaker.

Prioritizing or simply choosing how to spend the energy you have is one of the most important choices and also the biggest challenges of living with chronic illness. But it's always empowering to recognize that you are not simply a victim of your health problems but a proactive co-creator of your current life situation. Today I choose to see prioritizing as a liberating way of creating the life I want, instead of a limiting straight jacket.

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