Hello again, kittens. It’s 2024 and I’m back with a word for the year ahead: Balance. For anyone worrying about me or the blog, thank you for your concern…neither of us is going anywhere. I’ve already financially committed to the blog through November 2025 so let’s just get through 2024.
As for me, I’ll keep it simple: my multiple sclerosis is changing. I’ve been very fortunate to be stable (this always provokes a joke from my dear husband), but now, although there’s no new inflammation/lesions, the existing lesions are growing. Mostly on my spine which helps explain why I’ve fallen 3 times in the last 12 months. Twice I’ve broken multiple bones in my feet and 4 of my toes. Not fun. I knew this was coming, but thought I’d make it to my 70s before simple things like balance and walking without tripping became problematic.
So, my choice of the word balance applies to almost every aspect of my life right now. Physically, my love of a sedentary life has to go. I’m starting with a physical therapist this week, but after that I have to have a regular workout routine. Reading as my primary activity is no longer an option.
Working out 3 days a week is not such a big deal. I’ve done it before. But that was in my 30s, 40s, and even 50s when I still had that magical ability to add more to my existing schedule without missing a beat (remember those glorious days of unending energy?). Unfortunately, MS hijacked that part of my brain years ago and when my energy is gone, a nap won’t do it. Instead, it’s an off switch and I mentally shut down. I can sit at my computer with the best of intentions, KNOWING what I need to do, and 15 minutes later I’m still just staring at the screen. It’s worse than feeling tired and is frustrating as hell.
Balance means my priorities have to change, with working out moving to the top of the list and everything else reordering itself from there. In addition to The Gilmore Guide to Books I’m also a recurring host on a book podcast and am not willing to let that go, so I’m hoping that downsizing to two reviews a week and possibly only one on weeks I’m recording podcast episodes will do the trick.
That’s where I’m at, but balance is going to be a crucial concept for all of us in the upcoming months. Namely, because there will be none of it to be found in America this election year. I foresee the levels of negativity, vile behavior, and lies being at an all-time high as ever more foul creatures crawl out from under their rocks thanks to acceptance and praise from one of the candidates. Hate and fear are all this person has to offer and while counteracting his vitriol and all those aligned with him is necessary, it’s also exhausting. Balance means stepping away from the fray. Physical health aside, sitting at my computer for hours a day has got to stop and yet, it’s my routine, hardwired after decades of repetition. So, again, balance is going to mean a complete overhaul of my daily life. It’s not an option, it’s a necessity.
Sorry for all the words and the gloomy outlook, but sometimes I’ve got to be real. One thing that’s real is my love of this community and knowing that you’re all out there reading and loving books the way I do. I promise to be back with my 2023 reading wrap-up later this week!