Growing Older With PsA: Keeping Up With Nobody
When I was first diagnosed with psoriatic disease, I was terrified of what life would be like as I reached senior status. It wasn’t that I feared growing old, but with all the older people I knew complaining about old age aches and pains, I couldn’t imagine living with another layer of pain.
Not letting fear rule my life
Now that I have reached “over the hill” status, I am glad that I didn’t allow that fear to rule my life. It has been twenty years since I was diagnosed with psoriasis and seventeen for psoriatic arthritis.
Is my life what I imagined it would be? Not one bit! But to my surprise, I have experienced more joy than I ever thought would be possible despite having multiple chronic illnesses.
Why must we always compare?
Early in my chronic life, I would compare my abilities with those who had the same illnesses. The problem with that was it wasn’t often that someone had the exact diagnosis and symptoms. Throw a few uncommon surgical errors into the mix, and there was no one left to compare.
Most PsA patients don’t have someone with the exact symptoms and pain to compare without surgical errors. We each have distinct differences that make our diagnoses and lives unique. Unfortunately, that didn’t stop me from sizing others up and making my life more difficult.
As I slowly slide down the other side of fifty, I have learned the importance of living my life. Not the one that others think I should be living.
It's time to make some changes
When I turned fifty, I realized that my golden years weren’t too far behind. Unhappy with trying to live a life that catered to my chronic illnesses and fit the standard set for an average person, I began making changes. The first was to let go of feeling like I had to do things at a particular time.
I did not work for the first fifteen years of my chronic life. And for the past five years, I have been working from home. Nobody dictates my schedule except for me. If I want to eat dinner at 9 AM and exercise at 9 PM, then I do. Write an article at 2 AM? No problem. Go to Disneyland on a Wednesday evening? Why not?!
When my youngest child reached adult age, it hit me that I no longer had children that relied on me for their basic needs. Watching my kids grow into independent and self-sufficient adults has been a beautiful experience.
Living my best life
After realizing that all the extra stress that psoriatic arthritis and my other conditions have placed on my body could shorten the time I have left on earth that really prompted a change. How much longer was I going to force myself to keep up with others when it wasn’t even necessary?
Giving up on keeping up with others does not mean that I have given up on life. It is actually the opposite. Now my husband and I have time to enjoy things that I may be not around or in too much pain to enjoy when I am older. It’s like I have taken early retirement.
So while others are trying to keep up with the Kardashians, Joneses, or whoever, I am happily enjoying this phase of my life keeping up with nobody!
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