During a twitter conversation Thursday morning with a friend, I mentioned that things rarely go according to plan so I usually attempt to “go with the flow” in my day-to-day life. As with most important lessons in life, I’ve learned this very one the hard way. Having fibromyalgia (FMS) and chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) there have been far more occasions than I care to count where I have made plans and promises to do something, and ended up laid out flat; Barely capable of dressing & making my boys pb&j’s for supper, let alone attempting to follow through on plans. Becoming adaptable, and hopefully teaching my children the need to be adaptable, has become something of an art form for me, this past Thursday being another example.
Weather in our area has been less than stellar this spring, with it snowing up to the last weekend in May, many plans have had to either be set aside or permanently squashed. The school track & field day was originally May 28th, then postponed until June r3rd due to said snow, only to wake that morning to dull grey skies, temperatures barely moving into the double digits in Celsius and a light drizzle. Lovely.
They did go ahead with the track meet but as the rain turned to a steady downpour and temperatures dropped I realised that I could not be there in the afternoon to watch as I had assured my children I would. Standing outside in cold, very wet, weather would have left me incapable of doing much for the remainder of the weekend, leaving any further plans I may have in the dust so to speak. I feel terrible, I always do, even though I know I have to make these choices. Sometimes it’s worth the pain and sometimes, quite frankly, it’s just not. I tried to make it up to them, we got takeout from town, picked up the newly released “Alice in Wonderland” blu-ray, some movie junk food and had a nice family movie night. Maybe this weekend, weather permitting, we’ll work our way to the city geocaching and/or a trip to the zoo. It won’t bring back the memories of their last track meet with his school, but it’ll help, hopefully, ease their frustrations with Mum’s limitations.
Aspects of adaptability in the face of FMS:
· Rarely make promises beyond promising to do your best to be there or complete a task.
· Deadlines best be set, at minimum, to double the amount of time it takes others to complete the same project. Then add extra time on top of that.
· Lower your standards. I don’t mean to substandard levels, but perfection is rare at the best of times… for us, expecting such is counter-productive (I think many of us are often perfectionists, so this is easier said than done).
· Go easy on yourself. We may want to be like “normal” people, with “normal” energy levels, but we’re not “normal”… therefore….
· Just do your best!
No matter how much I plan, or decide I want to do, in the next day, next week, next month, or even within the next year, I have to include
some a bit a LOT of room for adaptability and that some plans may never come to be. Acceptance, with gumption, is crucial to not just surviving but living a life where pain is our constant companion. Don’t give in, and never give up hope!