November is almost here, and for me, that means only one thing: it’s time for a wedding!
After a wonderful engagement, Megan and I are finally tying the knot and I couldn’t be more excited.
It has truly been an incredible year, possibly my best so far with Meniere’s disease. I’ve watched with amazement as my life has taken me in remarkable new directions. It’s exhilarating, but if I’m being honest, it’s also terrifying.
I’ve written extensively about the importance of routines and habits in managing life with Meniere’s disease. Without question, they have been lifesavers for me. My rigid routine has kept me in a good place with my health, but it’s generally been at the expense of spontaneity. And as a result, not a whole lot happened in my first few years with Meniere’s disease.
Don’t get me wrong; I was perfectly happy with the way things were. I was able to manage my symptoms fairly well, which was all I wanted. I was in a steady relationship, ran a small business that was doing well, and had some semblance of a social life.
But things began to stagnate. Every day was more or less the same. I knew it was time for a change, I just wasn’t sure where to start.
I want to stress that no matter where you are in life, in your career, with your relationships, or with your health, reinvention is always an option. It’s scary and never easy, but its always an option.
A Time of Learning and Change:
More than anything else, 2015 has been a time for change. I blame you, my readers, and I love you for it.
It started with my impossible idea. I had wanted to do something to help people for a long time and I had also wanted to write a book. It seemed like such a pipe dream, but I started writing, and on February 15th, the Mind Over Meniere’s blog was born.
I had no reason to believe it would work out. I had never written a blog before, let a lone a book, and I had never built a website. But I dove in, as scared as I was, and tried to figure it out along the way. Today, Mind Over Meniere’s has grown beyond my wildest expectations. It’s been an amazing journey.
I had wanted to change careers long before I started writing. I just didn’t know what else I could do. I’ve had the same business since I was diagnosed with Meniere’s disease and wasn’t even sure what else was still possible. I was comfortable in my routine, but unfulfilled. I wanted the chance to be more creative.
Writing changed everything. I’m not sure I want to become a full time writer, but it’s really opened my eyes. It’s something I never really considered possible until I started, and it’s made me wonder what else might be possible.
It’s also helped me manage my symptoms. Writing is hard, and it really stretches my mind and creative muscles in a way that doesn’t just happen in normal daily life. It’s reduced my brain fog and helped me manage fatigue. I’m energized by the passion and excitement of it all.
I’ve learned a lot in 2015. But what I’ve learned above all else is that nothing beats raw experience. Before I started writing, I read books about writing books. I watched videos about making websites, and browsed templates and options. I listened to podcasts about Facebook brand pages and read blogs about graphic design. But in the end, I really just procrastinated a lot.
When it comes to reinvention, it’s usually better to just dive right in. Starting something new can be hard, especially when the learning curve seems steep. And your fear will always be there to try to talk you out of it. With Meniere’s disease, the fear can be deafening. But I’ve come to realize that more often than not, if I want to make a change, I get the best results when I just get started right away.
Facing the Fear:
As exciting as this year’s been, it hasn’t been a smooth ride. In fact, it’s been more like a roller coaster.
I’ve had some incredible highs, but they have usually been followed by periods of emotional turmoil. The ups and downs can take a toll, and I’ve found that it’s hard to live comfortably in the middle.
It has also generated a fair amount of fear in my life, though it’s hard for me to express my fear to my loved ones in a way they can understand. I’ll give you a specific example.
Megan and I have been planning this wedding for months now. It’s been exciting, but also stressful and tedious at times. And now that the wedding is almost here, I’m nervous about my health.
I generally manage my symptoms and my energy really well. I sometimes overdo it and end up paying the price, but I usually can bounce back pretty quickly.
For my wedding though, it’s going to be a long weekend of eating out at restaurants and entertaining guests, followed immediately by a 12-hour plane ride and the start of our honeymoon.
I honestly can’t wait for it all to happen, but I know going in that I’m most likely going to overexert myself. I’m concerned in a way that’s hard to talk about with my family and friends. It seems ridiculous to them that I would be anything other than excited. But it’s true, and I’m sure many of you can relate to this.
My family and friends tell me not to expect the worse. It’s hard to explain that I’m just trying to manage my expectations. That I’d rather prepare for every possible scenario and be pleasantly surprised, than the opposite.
On the reinvention side of things, the fear can permeate everything. It’s often terrifying to start something new, and even more so to release your ideas out into the world. Both require an act of vulnerability that can be extremely uncomfortable. “What if I fail?” is generally my go-to negative thought. It’s a good question, but not the right question: “What if I succeed?”
Author Steven Pressfield offers a more eloquent explanation of the fear, or as he calls it, resistance, in his incredible book, The War of Art. “Most of us have two lives. The life we live, and the unlived life within us. Between the two stands Resistance.” Steven goes on to explain that to overcome resistance, we must do the necessary work, every single day.
It’s easy to hit a wall with writing. I don’t always feel inspired, and with all the brain fog I experience, it’s hard to get the words to flow. But when I sit down to write, every single day, the words eventually come.
With change and reinvention, you will always feel the fear, but it doesn’t have to be a bad thing. Pressfield writes: “We can navigate by Resistance, letting it guide us to that calling or action that we must follow before all others. Rule of thumb: The more important a call or action is to our soul’s evolution, the more Resistance we will feel toward pursuing it.”
Even after such a wonderful year, I still face resistance. I continue to learn and I plan to start a new business. I’m also in the middle of writing another book and hope to continue writing for as long as I can. But I’m just as scared as I was when it all began. The only difference is perspective. I can see a way forward now. I can face the resistance with open eyes and know that success is a definite possibility.
It’s possible for you to succeed, too, if you just have the courage to face the fear.
Despite my concerns, I know that our wedding and honeymoon is going to be amazing. I’ve never been to Europe before, but I’ve done the best I can to prepare. My hotels are booked, I have a good list of restaurants and markets close by, and I plan to rest before we set off on our adventure together. I’ve even made sure to schedule naps and time to rest during our wedding weekend to give myself every possible chance of having a great time. I can’t wait to start this next chapter of my life.
I have a feeling that one day, I will look back on my life as an old man, and know that 2015 was the year that everything changed. I refuse to live with regrets. I choose to look back fondly at the decisions I’ve made, and hope to be proud of the person I become.