I hate to admit that this is a difficult and unhappy year. I move cities to Oshawa, where I know no one, and commute into York university to finish my last two credits - the goal of getting my Phd and teaching is still in place. I have too much free time, even with 2 part-time jobs, and Ian, at the beginning of his career, has too little. The adjustment to marriage is hard, and I'm sure I've made a terrible mistake.
To complicate matters, I'm ill. One day I faint at University, and immediately take the bus home. I mean home, not the one-bedroom apartment I share with Ian. I want my Mom!
Three months after the wedding, I am hospitalized in Toronto and diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis. They'll fix me, I think, but I soon learn that this is not a fixable disease - it will be with me for life. Medication is prescribed, and I improve, although it never goes away. I am not one of those who go into remission. Instead, I learn to build a life around it. Not the life I imagined, but a very good life, with my loving family, many good friends, my wonderful daughters, and a husband who stands by me through it all.
What more can one ask? A lot. Everything is not possible, as I thought, standing on the threshold of adulthood in University. Pain, illness and fatigue remove a lot of options.
But there are compensations: since I can't work, I meet many wonderful people volunteering, and I get to stay home with my children, an option I would have wanted anyway. And thank God I live in a country which has excellent health care and considers that a right, like schooling and roads and police and fire services, not a luxury only for the rich. No matter how often I'm in hospital, we don't lose our home or our car, or suffer the shame of bankruptcy, or have to fight an insurance company for the treatment I need. Thank you Canada!
Colitis teaches me to count my blessings; to ennumerate the things I'm thankful for every day; to notice happiness, and nurture those things that increase it; to be grateful for things I might have taken for granted. Would I have liked a life free of illness? You Bet! Would I have been happier? I'm not sure..
What curve-balls has life thrown at you? How do you view them from the distance of time? Did they come with hidden blessings?