I am a little embarrassed to admit it – but, Dr. Google was my friend not too long ago. I would ask it anything from what is an acoustic neuroma to what does brainstem compression mean? This resource helped me understand every sentence of my MRI report and even let me watch a video of what my surgery would look like.
Doing this caused enough anxiety to drive me mad and for the first time in my life, I started to believe that ignorance truly is bliss. However, that didn’t stop me – I couldn’t resist. Dr. Google continued to prove that it is a bit of a know-it-all and willing to provide a wealth of knowledge with just one click. At the time, I never thought this obsession would end. But over time, it did. And today, I no longer hold any desire to research this tumor that invaded the base of my skull for so long (past tense, ahh what a feeling!).
Lately, I find myself looking for answers once again. Only lately, these answers have been harder to find. I’ve gone to google, to self-help books, to siri and to friends – however, it seems like the harder I try, the more confused I get. Life has changed. And in many ways, for the better. But, I am trying to put together the puzzle of my once desired life only to realise the pieces no longer fit.
I am changing, I am growing and I am healing. But mostly, I am lost in the process of doing so. Why is it that the Meagan who walked into a storm in August, 2016 doesn’t recognize the Meagan entering spring 2017? As the seasons change, so am I. Right now, I am trying to get to know the person I see in the mirror each day.
All of my life I have known what I wanted and have lived according to that plan. I wanted to be successful. I had goals, I had plans and I had a timeline. Luckily, I was able to meet every professional milestone with grace. I sacrificed evenings, weekends, holidays and sleep. However, my end goal was always on the forefront of my mind and that, (plus lots of coffee) is what kept me going. No vacation or family dinner could stop me from working and to be honest, the thought “why would they even ask?“ would come across my busy mind at times. So when life hit hard, you can only imagine the despair I felt. But my goals and dreams? Confusion was an understatement.
At first, I thought these life events were just a hiccup – I would be back in action in no time. However, when I was knocked down more than once, I realized I was wrong. It wasn’t until I surrendered my control and took these events as a sign that I needed to slow down that I finally found some comfort. Was life showing me a different plan than the one inside my mind? Either way, it came to a point where I didn’t have much to give. I was forced to be held – and being the caregiver I am, that was a hard thing to accept.
But as it does, life goes on and I got through. And recently, I have re-read my blog from the start and can hardly believe how far I have come. In fact, it is remarkable to reflect on what I went through and to perceive it in a whole new light. When I read it now, I feel immense compassion for the girl who was troubled and I sit here wishing I gave myself that sort of love back then. Perhaps in doing so, I wouldn’t have put so much pressure on myself to have it all figured out. Maybe, I wouldn’t have spent so much time worrying about the future and instead, used that energy to calm my anxious mind. I know that I would have been kinder to myself – especially on the really hard days.
So why am I now doing this again? Putting immense pressure on myself to have it all figured out. Even after gaining valuable life experience, I continue to succumb to this pressure of knowing what’s next. The further I look, the more I realize how common this is. Perhaps we are living in a fear based world where having answers is the only comfort there is. Perhaps uncertainty is so unsettling that we hold back in many areas of our life because it doesn’t match the plan we have created for ourselves.
As of now I am focusing on healing from the inside out. As I write this, I am recognizing the importance of being kinder to myself in the process. I know the reason things don’t seem clear to me at this time is because I am not meant to know just yet. I know there is so much inspiration and guidance all around and our only job is to pay attention. In doing so, we are able to create our path based on what we learn along the way. I now know the importance of being flexible as change is the only guarantee in this life. And that sometimes, bad things happen to re-direct us to something even better than we had expected.
I may not know what’s next but I know what I have right now. And recently, I have found some inspiration in the saying “The meaning of life is to find our gift. The purpose of life is to give it away“. And I want to do just that. Although I had to learn the hard way, my hope is that if I share these lessons, you won’t have to. Therefore, my gift to you is knowledge that is not readily available on google. This knowledge comes as a result of transforming weakness to strength and have now become the baseline of how I plan to live my life.
So, I will leave you with this:
- If you don’t have your health, you don’t have anything. You could have a fancy car in the driveway, a vacation booked, or little kids that adore you – but if you can’t even get out of bed, you can’t enjoy any of the gifts you are blessed with. Cherish every moment.
- Listen to your body. The one that is speaking to you. You know when something doesn’t feel right and the only person who suffers from ignorance is you. Pay attention.
- Slow down. Pay attention to your surroundings. Don’t sacrifice too many holidays or family dinners for work and or school. Learn how to balance appropriately. Your routine can be taken from you in the drop of a hat – which would you prefer to have memories of?
- True strength doesn’t come overnight. It comes from being so weak that you have to rely on others. It comes from building your life up from the bottom and experiencing every challenging emotion along the way. Do not assume that you are not strong because another person seems more positive than you. You must know that you are at different phases of your healing cycle and that no two journeys are alike.
- The only way to become fearless is by being afraid. You must acknowledge that you are terrified but do what you need to do anyways. One of the steps towards becoming fearless is by taking that leap of faith even when you don’t know what the outcome may be. Try to think of all that you can gain, rather than what you may lose. If I can do that for brain surgery after weeks of debilitating fear, you can too.
- Not getting what you want at a certain time is a blessing not a curse. I assumed that I was forgotten in the medical system – I thought I was going to die waiting for surgery. However, neither of these events occurred and I was able to heal many emotional wounds as I waited. This time frame gave me enough strength and power to be able to focus my energy on physical healing by the time my surgery date arrived.
- Practice vulnerability. Cut the small talk and open up about your story. The authentic truth about your journey will inspire others. You will become the giver and receiver of more support than you could ever imagine. If you don’t believe me, ask Brene Brown.
- Stop putting pressure on yourself to have everything figured out. But do pay attention to what you learn along the way. Stop being so focused on making sure your life looks a certain way that you turn down other opportunities as they are presented. Flexibility may open up doors of love, success and adventure.
- Give yourself the same compassion that you would give someone else. What advice would you give someone going through what you are today? Love yourself like you love them.
- Don’t google your symptoms. Period.
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