I think milestones and holidays have been markers for me understanding the passage of time. As I have talked about too much on here, I have a warped sense of time in that I feel like I need to pack so much action into small spaces just because I've never been used to having time. Also, no matter how hard I try, I will always feel like I am struggling to catch up to the rest of the world. However, I think this past year helped me to quell many of my fears because it was the first time in my adult life I knew I was going to be fine so I was free to dream as big as I wanted.
The end of this summer is just another reminder that time will always pass too quickly regardless of me feeling like I'm living every second of it or that I am wasting it away. I got to do a lot of fun things this summer and although I feel like it flew by, I have so many memories that I know I can look back on with a happy heart because they were done without thought as to wondering if I would be healthy enough to carry them out. I got to go to weddings, visit friends in Maryland, make new friends, host my friends here in Philly, and start a new job that has added to my livelihood. I hope every summer from now on can be filled with so much activity.
With the craziness of the hurricane, I have been given an extra week to enjoy myself before grad school starts. Just walking around on campus today and beginning my readings, I am incredibly excited and I feel for the first time in a long time that things are falling into place as a direct result of my decisions. As I delve into reading for school I am realizing even more how much my illness directed me towards my field of study. I still have fears and worries but I know I am ready to face them head on.
In my social life and work life I can see how differently I judge others. I have become extremely opinionated, but open-minded. The fact that I confided in my co-worker about my health so quickly initially boggled my mind but then I realized it made perfect sense with the person I have become. I am ready for it all; to open up, to be challenged, to hurt, to learn. I will never stop learning from Crohn's because it will always be a part of me. It is a huge story of many chapters of my life but as the pages keep turning and I write new memories, it will no longer control the outcome of the decisions I make.
I can't help but think back to what my dad used to tell me all the time when I was sick. He would say, "This will not define your life," and at the time I couldn't imagine a day where it didn't. I understand what he was saying but I have also come to understand that it has very much defined my life exactly opposite of the way he feared it would negatively consume me. What a great feeling to come full-circle and say that aloud. To say that something you never wanted to define you has actually come to add a sense of self-awareness that would never have been possible otherwise; To say that yes, I am okay with Crohn's playing a role in how my life is played out. It is truly a full, exciting feeling and I am happy I have all of you to share it with.