(Today’s blog post is part of the Blogging From A to Z Challenge during which writers all over the world blog each day in April based on a corresponding letter of the alphabet. These are my personal stories about living with Trigeminal Neuralgia, the most painful diagnosis known to man.)
Looking back at my life, I never would have thought I’d be stricken with a chronic pain condition. Heart disease? Yeah. Cancer? Very likely. And I still may not be out of the woods yet where those two illnesses are concerned. You might consider that attitude to be morbid, but it really isn’t. It’s realistic and keeps me vigilant as far as my health is concerned.
However, now that I have TN, there are some things I wish I had done when I was younger. This is due both to the limitations of TN and also the fact that who I was and what I did had such an impact on the rest of my life. So this isn’t a bucket list, but rather a mulligan list of things I would do if I could get a few do-overs in my life. I don’t want this post to sound all narcissist, but perhaps someone reading, someone younger, will find some inspiration.
Don’t work so hard – or so young: I started working when I was thirteen and never even took a summer off, or any time period over two weeks. The upside was that I developed a very strong work ethic. The downside is that I never learned how to slack off, and now that my life is basically all about slacking off, the transition has been challenging.
Travel outside my comfort zone: And by this I mean, physically travel to more places but also take more chances with my life and my career. I was into some crazy stuff in my twenties, but I always had this rigid sense of responsibility. I took the safe route a lot. I wish I had just said, “fuck it” more often and backpacked through Europe of something. As much as I still want to do those types of things (although backpacking would be replaced with nice hotels), my TN kind of puts a damper on those plans.
Had a few more wacky haircuts: I had a few. The pink crew cut was pretty out there, and I shaved one side of my head long before Miley Cyrus or whoever has made it popular recently. I should have gone to an extreme a little more often, because I’m dying to now (no pun intended) but I think it wouldn’t be age inappropriate. (Granted, most people probably can’t relate to this one.)
Taken more pictures: There were no selfies in my day. There were not cell phones in my day. But we did have cameras, like my trusty little Kodak 110 Instamatic, which wasn’t instant at all, but required that the film be developed at Walgreen’s. Half the pictures were probably left undeveloped in a drawer somewhere at my parent’s house. But I wish I’d taken more pictures – not just of places I’ve been, but of the people who were with me.
Be who I am now back then: I am so much more confident than I was ten or twenty years ago. I wish I’d had the same attitude and opinion of myself back then. I wonder what my life would be like if I had been more assertive and stopped playing it so safe.
Uhhhh? Crap: I’m sure I had some really profound last point to make, but being a TNer, the fog has rolled in and I totally forgot it. I hate it when that happens. So I guess I’ll end by saying have more fun, be a little selfish and a little selfless, and never get someone’s name tattooed on you (unless it is your Mom’s).