I am doing something that most people would probably think is pretty silly. I am studying a Cert IV in Fitness, which in Australia would qualify me to be a personal trainer.
I have always loved fitness, the gym, running, karate…all in various phases of my life. But I have always loved the physical challenge of hard exercise and the feeling of euphoria when I’ve finished. I can’t truthfully say that I loved running…but I always loved the feeling when I was done. That I had achieved something worthwhile. That I was doing something positive for my health. That I was getting stronger and fitter, even if I was still overweight. (Hashimotos Thyroiditis (autoimmune thyroid disease) has always conspired to keep me ‘heavy’ for someone who exercised and ate the way I did. No matter…not achieving a perfect body wasn’t the key driver).
I think that is why I am able to push myself to go to yoga and spin classes and lift (relatively light) weights on all but the worst days. Because I have always loved this stuff.
About a year ago I was feeling a bit miserable and thinking ‘if I could have my life over, I wouldn’t have pursued the computer science career…I would have become a personal trainer.’
And then I have an epiphany. Why not do the course now? I definitely have time on my hands. It’s online. It’s something I am passionate about. It’s knowledge that will help me train myself, even though I am aware that I can’t currently work as a trainer. It’s something I will enjoy. It’s a way to fill the really hard days when my body won’t work. And studying is a replacement for the job I can’t seem to find, or if I do find, can’t hold on to. Intellectual stimulation.
It’s self-paced. It’s cheap. It’s no pressure. It’s just for fun.
So I signed up and got started. Some of the course is bat-shit boring and tedious. But other parts are fascinating and enjoyable. There isn’t a lot of pressure, because it’s only a cert IV, not a degree or anything, and its self-paced. Months have gone by, and I haven’t touched a thing.
But now I am getting close to finished. And it occurs to me how positive this experience really has been. And how, quite unconsciously, I am planning for a life when things GET BETTER.
Which is just as important as planning for a life of ever increasing pain and disability. We all have to do that. We have to be realistic. Things could get worse, and if our disease is severe, it will likely get worse. But we don’t dwell on it.
But how many of you are planning for if life gets better? If the next treatment or drug brings remission?
I have just realised, that unconsciously, that’s what I am doing. I am planning for a life that I have always wanted. And just because my body won’t do it now. I might be capable of it in the future.
Maybe Humira will give me full function back. Maybe it will allow me to work part time. Maybe it will be the drug after that.
Yes, right now, I am mostly bed ridden. The couch is my best friend. Facebook is how I communicate with the world. So it seems crazy to be pursuing this. But I realise that after I have done my Cert IV I would like to go on and do the Diploma. This will qualify me to work with people who have chronic conditions. Like arthritis. I could design programs for people like me, who don’t think they can get stronger or improve their pain.
A very smart trainer showed me many ways that I can exercise, strengthen my muscles and tendons and improve my cardiovascular health WITHOUT any impact on my joints. He is mentoring me through the practical stages of my course. He doesn’t laugh at me or tell me it’s ridiculous. He thinks maybe the right advice coming from someone who’s been there could be a life changing thing.
And so do I.
I may never get there. My body may not allow it. But studying fills my days, gives me challenges that work used to provide, and gives me hope.
And studying helps me plan for the best, as well as the worst.
We all plan for the worst. We have to. But we have to plan for the best as well. Whatever your dream is, go for it!
It really is the journey, not the destination that counts.