Wednesday, April 27, 2011

I know who I am not

I was reading one of my many newsletters this morning.  I was reading an article about 20 questions that everyone should ask themselves when I came across this question: 

How do I want the world to be different because I lived in it?

The article (By Martha Beck  O, The Oprah Magazine From the February 2011 issue of O, The Oprah Magazine) went on to say this: 

 Your existence is already a factor in world history—now, what sort of factor do you want it to be? Maybe you know you're here to create worldwide prosperity, a beautiful family, or one really excellent bagel. If your impressions are more vague, keep asking this question. Eventually you'll glimpse clearer outlines of your destiny. Live by design, not by accident.

Well- I don't know the answer to the question.  At this point my impressions are very, very vague.  As with most of these articles I think about my life as a whole.  I think about what I am doing in terms of work, in terms of my relationships with my loved ones, with my friends, with aquaintances and with strangers.  I think about these illnesses that I live with and the network I have surrounded myself with and how we support one another.  I think about what I do, and what I would like to do for others.  It's a lot of soul searching.  I am going to think long and hard on what the authentic answer is, but in the meantime- I do know what difference I won't be making in this world. 

There are people like me who have let their health situation consume their every waking moment in a way that leads them to nothing but misery.  They talk about nothing more than how much pain they are in, how their doctor's aren't treating them properly, that no one can possibly understand.  They get to the point that they lose sight of any good in their lives.  I am incredibly thankful that that's not me. 

There are people like me who have taken their situation and use it to educate others.  They find the inner strength to be the voice of the chronically ill and who fight every single day to get the word out about every aspect of their illness.  They teach those not affected about our invisible illness.  They open the curtains on the doctor/patient relationship.  They advocate through their writing and through social media.  They make a difference within the community by providing a forum for the newly diagnosed to find answers and the "old hats" to express their frustration.  They are the hard hitting reporters with a big story- one they cannot get away from.  I am not that person either- I just don't have the patience for it in my life. 

There are people like me who take their situation and use it as a stepping stone to something greater.  They take the challenges of living with a chronic illness and find ways to turn them into positives that they can use to help others.  They find their inner peace and share it with the world.  They use it as a way to share the inner light that is just inherant to them with a much larger audience.  The difference that they make is to lift up those they can reach- and keep reaching farther and farther.  I strive to find that peace and positivity- but I have a long way to go before that can be me. 

There are those who have been married as long as I have who have never worked outside the home. They are content raising their children and making their house a home for their family. They take pride in their skills as domestic goddess.  When I was younger and raising Josh, not only was that not feasible economically but I don't know that I would have had the patience and I KNOW that I didn't have what it takes to be a stay at home mom.  It's just not me. 

There are those who are in the same position that I am in professionally who are terrific at what they do.  They enjoy the social aspect of their job.  They have the talent to diffuse any situation and they are so mellow that they can fit in with most any situation.  They are equally talented at both sides of our "world" (both textbooks and general merchandise) and are successful at managing their business and their situation.  I fall somewhere in the middle there.  I admire their ability to navigate the politics, to take a tense encounter and turn it around and to stay on top of the trends and do it all at once.  That is most assuredly not me. 

It seems, reading back through this, that there are a lot of things that I am not.  The good thing is that with this question rumbling around inside of my head, I get the opportunity to find out who I am.  I get the opportunity to really figure out how I want to leave my mark on the world.  I get to decide what I want my legacy to be- and to make that happen.  For that I can be eternally grateful. 


HealingWell said...

Beautifully said Jules! You have already made a mark in the world doing this blog. It gives people a reason to have joy and happiness, despite their illness and challenges that accompany it. I've found my purpose in much the same way with my site. Thanks again. ~ Peter

Jules said...

Thank you so much Peter. Sitting in my little corner of the world, it's easy to get so caught up in the day to day that I lose sight of the big picture.

I LOVE what you have done with your site. Taking a very painful diagnosis of Chron's and turning it into a positive for yourself and everyone who lives with chronic illness is so admirable. You have achieved your vision and you touch so many lives every day.