My next birthday will fall upon Wednesday of next week. I will be halfway to the age of 90.
Let me take a breath to take this all in, insert heavy pregnant pause here. This drove my mind today. Try as I might, the numbers weren’t posting because my brain was sitting in Las Vegas. At a very posh hotel, baking in the sun, drinking a pina colada. This was how I celebrated 40.
What could I say at 40? I pontificated while sunbathing by the pool. Trying to feel adult and put together a respectful lesson to deliver on the return to KY. Have I found the key to success? Did I have it all? Was I ever going to go back to college? Chase my career of working in law? Too heavy a subject for that day. I did keep asking myself: what is 40? Until I came home. And for the next 60 days, it was the same question. My much anticipated aha moment came in August.
Literally, overnight, a rash erupted on my lower arm. The biopsy returned with sjogren’s syndrome and Systemic Lupus Erythematosus. I sat in shocked silence. This was the answer to my fatigue, to the butterfly rash on my face, the reason why my eyes are dry. Yes! I have the reason. Great! Flip that onto the not so great. I have two autoimmune disorders that are incurable. Chronic for the rest of my days.
This was the awakening that I was having for 40. It was time to chuck the small mindedness of everyday life. It was the kick in the backside to learn to enjoy my time on Mother Earth. It was time to live my life out loud and to do as I please. It was time to step forward and “do me”.
Five years later, I still wake up with the same credo. It hasn’t failed me yet. Don’t wait for the diagnosis to get your attention. Step up everyday and “do you”. It’s the best feeling in the world!
Striving for exceptional-Tristen Ahlsey