Chronic illness can lead to major changes in our lives, especially in our bodies. Weight gain or loss, skin tone alterations, hair loss or over-furry growth – these and other things can occur along the way and we have to make adjustments. And we might find that the things we used to wear, use, live with and perhaps even cherish before our illness no longer fit or suit us or our lives now.
What do we let go of from our “former lives?” When do we make the break?
Some people hang on to those pairs of skinny jeans with the hope that one day, they will fit again.
Others keep job-related gear stowed in the back of a closet, “just in case” illness reverses itself and they can, once again, get back to work.
Perhaps memberships to organizations, gyms, or other past activities come up for renewal and the temptation to keep them running because “maybe one day soon…” echoes over and over again.
Perhaps, too, certain friends or acquaintances, who were so vital to the “old” life, become problematic in the “new,” but letting go seems too difficult to face.
Early on in my new life with lupus, I hung onto business clothes and other things left over from “before.” Two things helped me move on:
I realized that my diagnosis would require new clothes (sun protective shirts, for example), and didn’t have room for those along with the “old” pieces I had no use for. Ditto for my notebooks and other work-related tools.
Secondly, I realized that, although I could no longer use my professional possessions, but they were still perfectly usable. Someone else might be able to benefit from them, someone in need.
I gradually “deaccessioned” my work clothes and other things, making room for my new life. In the same way, I worked through other parts of “letting go,” understanding that, with illness comes change. Some of it is painful, but some is refreshing. And if it is done with a spirit of hope and help for someone else, all the better.
Blessings for the day,