Some days I feel on top of the world.
Some days I feel like ending it all.
That is the nature of chronic illness; you never know what a new day will bring. Since I have been chronically ill for over sixteen years, I am a professional at navigating the ups and downs of life. However, that doesn’t mean it’s easy.
It is important to keep the bigger picture in mind when going through these ups and downs. A bad day does not make a bad life. The worst hour only last sixty minutes. The caterpillar will become a butterfly. To incorporate these ideas into daily life, many suggest to a struggling individual that they write out positives in their lives or write encouraging statements and place those written words around their home. Personally, my counselors over the years have suggested having a “dream list,” or as many others call it, a bucket list.
I took their advice. At age seventeen, a few years after I became ill, I wrote my first bucket list. Ninety percent of that list has been checked off. However, recently I made a list that includes my dreams for the next five to ten years, instead of listing more things I want to accomplish before death. This was incredibly uplifting to me because the dreams I listed are, keeping my health at the forefront of my mind, ones that I feel are attainable. Also, this list gives me a challenge without being too overwhelming.
After consideration, I decided it was better not to list my dream list for my readers because that opens up my life for comparison to yours. If you are struggling with chronic illness, your life is your own and must be lived according to your own standards. If you feel the need to compare your life with others you will most assuredly be disappointed, because no other human being in the world knows or deals with your exact struggles.
However, for fun, there are a few activities many people secretly wish to accomplish that are enjoyable and rewarding, not to mention fun – and for the purpose of encouraging you all to reach for the stars while enjoying life and sticking to your limits, I have included a few ideas. Read through it and see if perhaps one or two items are goals you would enjoy setting for yourself.
– Read through a popular book series
Examples: Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, Twilight, Anne of Green Gables, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, Hunger Games
– Learn a specific dance
Examples: Thriller by Michael Jackson, All the Single Ladies by Beyonce, Watch Me (Whip/Nae Nae) by Silento
– Collect favorite DVD’s
Examples: for those times when streaming isn’t an option, collect five DVD’s that you have watched more than five times but still find enjoyable
– Try a New Hair Color
Examples: blue, pink, purple…and if you aren’t ready for a full head of blue hair, try streaking in the color
Examples: there are free coloring sheets for adults available online now. Get some crayons or colored pencils and have fun
– Tattoo It Up
Examples: when sick, doing a real tattoo can be dangerous to your health, so for practice, go out and buy temporary tattoos and see what style you like
– Snap That Camera
Examples: take your phone or camera with you whenever you travel out of the house and snap pictures of whatever catches your eye. If using your phone, download a fun, free app that allows you to enhance/change the pictures
– Create Your Dream Music List
Examples: on your MP3 player, download songs that both uplift you, make you dance, and remind you of the good things in life. For me, a combination of Meghan Trainor, Adele and contemporary classical music is just about perfect
– Design a T-Shirt
Examples: for a reasonable price, you can create your own t-shirt. Think up a slogan/saying that brings a smile to your face, or print off a favorite picture of a pet or loved one
– Re-Design your Home
Examples: on paper, re-design your favorite room and include paint colors, specific furniture pieces and artwork. It’s free, so go crazy; install that sound system or put in that double oven
– Scrap It
Examples: we all take pictures on our phones but rarely put them into a scrapbook anymore. It’s cheap and easy to print your pictures online and have them sent to you, and finding cheap papers, stencils and stickers to design pages is fairly easy to do. If scrapbooking is too overwhelming, design greeting cards and send them off to friends or family who could use some extra encouragement
– Library Time
Examples: need to get out of the house but require someplace quiet and local? Your library has more to offer than you realize. Not only can you browse books on health and healing but autobiographies, fiction literature, movies and books on tape or CD abound
– Design Jewelry
Examples: this one took me a bit to figure out but a helpful fellow customer at Michael’s taught me the basic workings of necklaces, earrings and bracelets. Getting coupons for Michaels or finding sales at Hobby Lobby isn’t too hard, so next time you see a good deal on jewelry supplies, go and check it out
– Create A Vase
Examples: one of my favorite ways to light up a room or subtly change décor, buying a simple glass vase is easy and cheap. Then, have fun deciding what to put into it: some put in fake fruit, others buy a mixture of synthetic flowers, while others collect sand or buy colored glass. If you like this idea, go the extra mile and create a vase for every season of the year