Welcome, 2019!

My goal was to have this published on the 1st of this month, but life happens. I don’t have any specific yearly goals for 2019. What I do have is a thoughtful Happy List. Before I post the list, I want to discuss the thoughts behind this years list.

Last year, I wrote down anything that I have ever wanted to do. This is wonderful for those years where I feel that anything in possible. This year, there is a lot of questions and uncertainty. Due to this, I have refined my list to reflect things that I believe that I can actually accomplish this year.

I also want you to know that January is typically my reflection month. I will be posting my feelings regarding the things I accomplished last year and how they have altered me as a person.

Let us jump blindly into the wonders of 2019! THIS IS GONNA BE GOOD!

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Reviewing 2018

Towards the end of every year, I sit down and review my happy list. It is the time to check off any accomplishments, remember how they made me feel, and begin to think about the next year’s list. I never finish everything on my list. There is a beauty to looking over my list and realizing that I finished more things than I had thought. In total, I finished ten things from my list. Every year, I’m really proud of what I have accomplished. The things I finished are:

  1. Finish two paintings
  2. Play the cello again
  3. Write a letter to my future self
  4. Take a hike (Haha, literally in this sense.)
  5. Have fun at a park
  6. Start a garden
  7. Read at least 25 books
  8. Finish half of my to-read pile
  9. Get a professional massage
  10. Take a vacation

Things I have accomplished that wasn’t on my list:

  1. Maintained a 4.0 GPA in my junior year of college.
  2. Joined my school’s exclusive honors college sector.
  3. Joined six honor societies.
  4. Maintained a job.
  5. Practiced tai chi for the first time.
  6. Read double the number of books I aimed to complete.
  7. Made a skirt for my daughter that she loves.
  8. Went to a bar with my sisters.
  9. Spent quality time with two of my best friends before they left.
  10. Participated in many firsts regarding my degree.

I’m sure I have achieved more, but those are the highlights in my mind at this moment. I think that this is all something to be proud of. That is the beauty of The Happy List, to try new things and grow. I encourage every person to establish a Happy List to push outside of his or her comfort zone. The Happy List is here to help you find joy in life. So, go find joy. Here’s to the end of 2018! Happy New Year Everyone!

Cheers to a year of new flavors!

Health?

Why is it always an up and down battle? I am either in so much pain I can’t move, or I’m in just enough pain where it is annoying but I can still pretend I’m alright. I could be alright if it was just annoying, but instead it becomes unbearable.

Well, to get to the meat and potatoes of the dish, I heard from my doctor recently. He told me that I have a thing called Failed Back Surgery Syndrome. Basically, the surgery on my back worked, but my body has produced to much scar tissue that it is now what is pressing on my nerves. This is why I have the feeling of my nerves being cut in half. The problem with this diagnosis is that there really isn’t anything they can do that won’t cause more scar tissue. They want to put a nerve stimulator directly into my spine to disrupt the signals, but that doesn’t really fix the problem, only masks it.

I’ve been told that everything can begin to feel better, but that I’m not getting any worse for the moment. It is amazing news, and not all at the same time. So many questions have been brought up because of it all and I don’t know where I stand on any of the topics. I almost feel like I want to roll a die for every decision rather than make them myself. Of course, at that point, I would then freak out because they are big decisions and I would want to have a say about them.

Life is complicated. There should really be a warning label about that somewhere. Maybe, there should be a class in school that prepares you for all the random shit that happens in life. Of course, we’d forget the entire class just like we forgot how to do algebra.

Update

For the past week, the stimulator has been in my back for the test run. The point of the test is to see if it can improve my pain by at least 50%. From what I can tell, it has helped. This could mean another surgery, but it also means there is potential to limit my pain. I’m just worried that I might forget that it is not a fix and accidentally hurt myself. It makes me hopeful though. This one week has shown me that there is a possible future where I won’t be crippled by my pain. That makes it worth it, right?

Hey guys!

Hey everyone,

I am so sorry I have been MIA recently. About a month ago, I had surgery on my ankle and I have been lucky to walk from one room to another. Before the surgery though, I broke my laptop. So, basically, I have been BORED OUT OF MY MIND! Seriously, there is only so much laying around a person can do. I feel horrible that I was not able to finish my earlier promise to describe my experiences while on vacation. I still plan on doing that, but for now, I need to focus on healing. I think I should also update you guys on everything else when I get the chance as well.

Pain Wolf

I feel like I’m lying. I’m always complaining about something new that hurts. I’m always talking to my doctors asking for another referral to see another doctor. They always look at me like I’m faking or looking for drugs. I never ask for drugs though, I just ask for answers. It does not change the constant feeling that I’m calling wolf. The doctors do tests and find more things wrong, but I still feel like I’m lying about it all.

I can’t tell you how many conversations I have had with Victor, my husband, about my feeling of it all being in my head. What if it isn’t real? What if this whole time I could have thought the pain away? What if I’m preventing my body from healing? What if I’m crazy? That last one is probably true. I’m crazy, either for thinking these thoughts or thinking up the pain.

Every time a doctor does a new test or takes a new picture of my body they confirm that there is something wrong. So, why do I always feel like I’m faking? I wish I could make it all go away, because at least then I could keep up with my to-do list.

Yeah… that was my scream you heard echoing

Ride in the front seat of a roller coaster/water coaster.

I feel like since we talked about water slides in general yesterday that it would be a nice additive to mention I was in the front of the water coaster. As I have previously mentioned, I hate roller coasters. I don’t like the feeling they create.  I don’t like the possibility of falling out. I don’t like anything that is like a roller coaster. Yet, while on vacation, I went on a water coaster first.

You know the log rides that attempt to be as vertical as possible and them splash the heck out of you? They are usually the rides that have those surprise pictures just as you’re being dropped to your death at the bottom. They usually line people up with one person in the front and a few people behind them. The first water slide I went on was kind of like that except it only allowed for two people to take the ride at a time. It also did not have any seat belts because we were on a water tube. The entire time I highly questioned the possibility of survival if the tube decided it did not like us anymore and came out from under us.

I guess this day I was feeling daring because, on the biggest slide they had, I decided it would be great to go first. Well, that was completely a first for me and somehow I survived.

Oh, I’m kidding it really was not that bad but I’m proud of myself for doing it. I remember for the rest of our stay my sister kept requesting we attempt the big one again, but I was so proud and amazed that I had done it the first time that I did not really want to attempt it again.

The lesson I learned from this first experience was that doing something you would not necessarily do can still be something worth doing. I felt like that day I had allowed myself to be someone else. This person was brave, confident, daring, and the most beautiful person. I need to be more like that because that person exists and can be real. I can feel that empowered every day and not just when I’m on vacation.

Do something you would never normally do because it will eventually make you become the person you’ve always wanted to become. That should be something to add to my happy list. Do something daring every day…. Or something like that.

P.S. My orange ghost leaks… Victor says that is what I get for poking it with a needle and leaving it there for three months. Don’t tell him, but I think he was right. I completely regret that random impulse to stick a needle into my ghost because now I can’t viciously squeeze him.

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“Slide,” the penguin said.

pexels-photo-261429.jpegGo on a water slide or water coaster. That is the topic I will tackle today because it was something I have always wanted to do. I hate roller coasters because when I was little, I nearly flew out of them one too many times. I don’t know when it happened, but at some point in my life, I began to tell myself that water coasters, or water slides, were not as bad as normal roller coasters. The truth of the matter is there really isn’t a difference. If there is one thing I have learned from it is that they can still be really fun.

I started off going on the biggest water slide they had. I told myself that if I started big I would not be able to convince myself later not to do it. This, I told myself, would optimize my water slide experience. Honestly, I do not know if it did optimize the experience, but it did guarantee that I attempted every water slide/coaster they had available.

One of the first things I should mention are the stairs. As someone who suffers from back problems, chronic pain, and arthritis, I was really scared I would not be able to tackle the stairs because there were at least five flights. I have been doing yoga and walking every day so I surprised myself by getting nearly to the top before it began to weigh on me. (The top was more like the middle) There were times that I honestly thought I would not be able to climb any further or even get myself down, but then I would turn around and find my sister struggling alongside me. Knowing that my sister has nothing wrong with her joints or spine that would get in the way of her climbing these stairs, her struggle encouraged me to keep going. I know that may sound really bad, but it made me realize that I was not as broken as I could be.

I felt so strong and empowered after the trip was over. It was more than I thought I would ever try and I’m so thankful I did it. The first ride I attempted I feared the entire time I would fall and hurt myself, but when that did not happen I felt a little reassured. Though I hated how it made me feel, I still climbed those stairs again to tackle the second biggest one available.

Due to the trials, I have experienced in my life and my ever-worsening back, I am always fearful that at any moment I’m going to do something that will hurt my body more. I find that this fear holds me back from living life. My mind is so creative and imagines the most bazar outcomes that could happen which would hurt me further. A few years ago when I first started this list to happy, I had things on my list that I was forced to cross off due to my back. Since then, I have feared to participate in some activities. I am thankful that I did not cross this adventure off my list.

After my first water slide, I felt empowered. I had done something that scared me and survived. I felt pride because I had decided to attempt the biggest one even though I knew it was going to feel like a roller coaster. I felt strong because I climbed all of those stairs, and then, did it again. I felt like for once I was not broken.

Life is not over just because each day is a struggle. We may be given a set amount of energy for the day and have to question which activities deserve to be done, but the beauty of life is that we still get that choice. I remember a time I took the ability to do whatever I wanted for granted. I know now, that life is fleeting and at any moment I will lose the option to do the few things I can a day. My pain has offered me a choice to live a life of joy or sit and let my pain live for me. I have decided to live happily. My pain will not go anywhere, but it won’t rule my actions.

So, I guess what I’m saying is go on a water slide because it will give you a new perspective on life. As you go through that tunnel surrounded by water, you will realize that there is always a choice. There was a choice to climb those stairs. A choice to take that leap. A choice to live.

P.S. The second water slide I went on was with my sister. When we got to the bottom the raft came out from under us. The next thing I knew, I was in the water sitting on my sister’s head. Every action my younger self would have done went through my mind. I had the power to do whatever I wanted because I was sitting on her head! Of course, all of these thoughts happened in a matter of seconds and by then my adult logic was already rushing to move and pull her to the surface for air. Oh, but the things I could have done.

P.P.S. The picture is obviously not from my trip because the place I went was completely indoors. I just needed a picture and completely forgot to take any. In my defense, I logically kept my phone away from the giant room of water.

P.P.P.S Happy Belated Mother’s Day to all the mothers out there! Happy Kitty Mother’s Day. Happy Puppy Mother’s Day. Happy Dad/Mother’s Day. Happy every mother day.

P.P.P.P.S. I really want to say something random and funny here, but again I can’t think of anything. So, insert some funny joke in here for me.

P.P.P.P.P.S. Oh! I have a joke that I got from watching my daughter’s PBS shows.

Joke: What did the Pacific Ocean say to the Atlantic Ocean?

Punch Line: Nothing, they could only wave.

Hahahaha! Oh, I love stupid punny jokes…