I’ve spent more time than I care to admit focusing on endings. Beginnings can be a bit rough, because there’s uncertainty. Middles are where you finally sort things out, settle in, and get comfortable. But endings don’t always come nicely wrapped up with a bow on top. Sometimes endings throw you out into the universe with more questions than you had at the beginning.
This year alone, I’ve had to replace two physicians who were an integral part of my health team. My endocrinologist was the one who helped uncover my adrenal insufficiency. I became comfortable working with my team, and I knew who to contact and what to expect when I’d hear back. I’m in the process of transferring from my primary care physician, who is also moving on. Instead of getting overly worked up by all the things that could possibly go wrong, I’m choosing to trust that this change may lead to even better outcomes. There have been times when I’ve changed physicians, and the new doctor had a different take on my case that allowed one more piece of the puzzle to fall into place.
Writing is another area of my life in which I wasn’t sure what to expect. It’s my goal as a writer to continue to be published in some capacity and, as I’ve mentioned before, my big “lifetime goal” a few years ago was to be writing for a publication like HemAware. Incidentally, I wrote a birthday letter to my fellow National Youth Leadership Institute (NYLI) alum Sachin as a present. “You must do something with this,” he implored of me. I sent it around to a few places, it got picked up by a men’s magazine, and now I am a recurring contributor.
Here I was, worried about being able to have a platform to build upon the discussion of chronic illness and hemophilia, and it just sort of occurred (with a lot of hard work and revisions on my end). It has been an eye-opening experience to consider men’s issues and needs on an ongoing basis. It also opened up an entirely new way of thinking for me. Mostly, I realized I have strong opinions on some social issues, and that it’s a good thing in life to have an opinion. So often, we feel our opinions don’t matter. We marginalize ourselves and squelch our own potential. This experience has been thrilling.
As I’ve mentioned before, I was unsure of how to remain a contributing member of the bleeding disorders community after I was no longer part of NYLI. I wasn’t sure what being a part of the community would look like in my upper 20s. Then, suddenly a project fell into my lap that I knew I had to be a part of. It’s a documentary on invisible illness and chronic pain called Invisible: The Film, which is the brainchild of an amazing woman named Megan, who has fibromyalgia. I found out about her documentary-in-progress via Twitter.
Because of this, I’ve learned that opportunities come from everywhere. While our medical conditions are different, I can see the same passion Megan has for her cause that I feel toward my own projects. The production team is amazing, and I’m now an associate producer—bringing more awareness to our community. This opportunity has allowed me to work with Sachin again and also to interact with other members of our community who are being considered as potential storylines the documentary will follow. I could never have dreamed that I would be working on a project like this right now.
Here is what I found to be a thrilling part of life as I reflected on 2014: If you spend so much time thinking within the box, all you’ll get is the box. If you allow yourself to be open to all the possibilities that are out there, you can get so much more than you ever expected. The box can be blinding. It keeps you from seeing the other paths. Even though those paths are unknown, they don’t have to be scary.
In the New Year, I will continue to let whatever falls along my path to inspire me. I’ve learned to settle into the shifting uncertainty. My health will never be certain. I’ve become more flexible in that respect. I don’t know what my life will look like 10 years from now. I’m sure there will be ups and downs, but I know I can bounce back. When one chapter of my life wraps up, there is the potential for thrilling new projects in the future. Life is forward momentum. The only thing I can be completely certain of for 2015 is the hard work I put into things I’m passionate about, the friends and family who love me, and the knowledge that if I keep an open mind, life-altering things can occur.