A few summers ago, my husband, daughter and I were given an offer that we couldn’t refuse. Our cousins in London, connections in Paris and friends in Berlin, all offered us a place to stay during the month of August. Without the financial constraints of lodging, the one thing that held me back was my need to leave the comfort and consistency of staying at home.
I’ve always been a person who likes to be at home. Even before I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis on my 20th birthday, I was a college kid who wasn’t interested in parties. I’d always rather be with small groups of people who can have more meaningful conversations as opposed to the insidious chatter starting with “what’s your major” and ending in a hopefully forgettable situation. Lucky for me, Keith and Madeline (a.k.a. husband & daughter) have similar preferences. This not only played-well with our college professor-ing, student loan pay-ing, disability receive-ing lifestyle, but it also made for an ease of MS-limitation-ing without depravation that could have made life a lot harder.
But with this once-in-a-lifetime trip on the table, I knew I would need to push myself out the door to take advantage of this incredible opportunity. That’s both literal and figurative trip-ing and push-ing, mind you! I didn’t want to miss out on the window of “this” ability which, let’s face it, may be the most meaningful ability I may experience in the unpredictable years to come.
Flights were arranged, housing reserved, and all there was left to do was plan.
That p-word can be even scarier than the “progressive” p-word when living with a chronic disease. Trying to plan when your tomorrow is so uncertain is a high-risk endeavor, filled with fear, disappointment and speed bumps. That is why my life has centered on a low-key, que-sera-sera approach. But this would be different. It had to be different. Because without a first course of planning and a second serving of hope, I would be filled the regret of should have done-s for years to come. I can’t control a whole lot of my every day—I should take advantage of those things that I can. This was a time I knew I needed to embrace a certain level of vulnerability and throw trepidation to the Jetstream.
So I did, and do I have a story to tell!
_Youan’t know what you don’t know. But if you try sometimes you’ll find, you know what you need.A Scooter Named Gigi . Reframing my self-image in my Paris vacation pics.
The People with Limitations Parade. A photographic study those who are living with challenges, yet walking the walk across Europe.
In the meantime, read more on MS in the Summer: