Planning for the Future With Chronic Illness
Last updated: January 2023
I’ve talked about this a lot on my own website; the difficulty I have faced planning for the future because of living with severe chronic illness. I used to love making plans and having things to look forward to but as my health got worse I started to hate making plans because I was often not able to keep them.
It's hard to plan with IBD
As we begin a new year, I know a lot of people are reflecting on the year past and making plans and resolutions for the future so I figured this would be a great time to talk about this. Last year at this time I wrote, 10 Resolutions Every Person with A Chronic Illness Should Make.
I could write a lot about this but I will just summarize it by saying that hospitalizations, emergency surgeries, pain, fatigue, and more have made it so that I have had to cancel plans that I looked forward to. I’ve missed vacations, holidays, school events, work, parties, etc., because of being sick and soon it led to anxiety and let down about making plans for the future.
I was tired of being disappointed that things didn’t go the way I had hoped they would because of my health, so I just stopped making plans or looking forward to the future altogether. I hoped that it would reduce the disappointment I felt. What I want to talk more about today, though, is that I no longer feel this way!
Why I've stopped fearing the future
I actually look forward to making plans again even though nothing has changed with my health. I have written several blog posts and made videos where I talked about struggling with planning for the future so if you’ve followed me over the years on my site you might be surprised to hear me say this, but I no longer fear planning for the future and that is such a relief. I don’t know how I got here, I just know that it’s been a journey. I know that it involves acceptance of your illness and facing reality. I know it involved learning to be flexible and how to let things go.
Now I plan for the future again, I look forward to the events I have planned, but if it doesn’t happen then I no longer feel the upset that I used to. Yes, it is still upsetting, but because I have let go of expectations and have accepted that things don’t go the way I plan a lot of the time, it doesn’t matter as much to me anymore. We all deserve joy in life and we should do our best to not let chronic illness take it away from us.
Part of my happiness comes from looking forward to my future and so I plan again, with joy, and just accept it and move on the best that I can when things don’t go according to plan. I have a lot of dreams for my future – marriage, having kids, moving out of this town, better health, more money, and so on and I am going to look forward to those things because it keeps me hoping, and as cheesy as it sounds; I need hope.
I wish all of you a happy and healthy new year and I hope that if you have trouble planning for the future that you are able to get to a place in life where you feel more comfortable looking forward to events on your calendar again!
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