One thing a serious illness will do, is help you get your priorities straight. The more serious the illness, the faster you figure out what you want to spend your time doing. When I was diagnosed, I think it took me all of 10 minutes to decide I didn’t want to spend 40 hours a week working. I turned in my two weeks notice almost immediately. That all changed though, after I had spent several weeks at home. After working 40 hours a week, running errands, managing a household, taking care of two young children, etcetera, suddenly having an extra 47 ½ hours (work hours, plus commute time) a week was a tough adjustment. So, after realizing how much I enjoyed my work, when the opportunity to work 20 hours a week came along, I went back to my old job. As my illness progressed, and things changed, so did my work schedule. I was lucky enough to have a job where I could work part-time, and fortunate to work for a company who eventually set me up to work from home. That was back when working from home, online, was not such a common occurrence. In the last few months of work, I worked as a consultant and just checked in weekly. Finely leaving for the second time, five years later.
You will hopefully find yourself spending the minimal amount of time possible doing mundane everyday tasks. Maybe having a perfectly spotless house won’t seem so important anymore. You might find yourself doing things you would probably never have done before. You might just walk through the rain shower to get to your car at the back of the parking lot, instead of running through it. You may discover that you enjoy the time to yourself as you mow the yard. I found out that I really didn’t mind cleaning my house, but also didn’t want to spend all my time doing it. Many people who are diagnosed with serious illness, especially one without an easy fix, start searching for alternative treatments, which generally takes up a lot of time.
Find your bliss. Do what makes you happy. While we all have to the mundane everyday chores, don’t spend all your time on those tasks. If you dread Monday’s because you don’t want to go to work, maybe you need a different job. What’s that saying, “If you love what you do, you’ll never work a day in your life”? It’s true. Dragging yourself to a job you hate day after day can literally drag you down. That means more sick days, and the chance for serious illnesses to creep into your life. I think that’s why it’s possible for the barista at your local coffeehouse to live such a happy and healthy life, while the president of the local bank is dragging themselves out of bed and into that coffeehouse for a jolt of caffeine just to make it into their job at the bank around the corner. They may be making more money, but the high stress job is making them unhappy.
The moral of this story, is that you don’t have to wait for an illness to strike before you take stock of your life and how much you are enjoying yourself. Don’t wait. Do it now. Make changes if you need to, before you have to. Follow your bliss. The rest will take care of itself. Just be happy, that’s really the most important thing there is in life.