Guilt

Let me just put it out there: I have some of the best friends in the world. And while there’s countless reasons behind this statement, there’s one in particular that holds true, especially as of late.

No matter how many times I’ve uttered the phrase,”I’m sick” in the past few months, my friends have never grown sick of me. The test of genuine friendship is the people who stand by you, regardless of your tiring excuses, spontaneous cancelling of plans and unpredictable state of health. It’s the people who trust you are there for them, even when you’re not at your best.

I still remember the first time I felt that certain type of guilt—the kind where you feel as though you’re a burden to others because of your disease.

One of my sister’s friends was having a party, and I was so excited to have been invited, much less to have been attending. I tried my hardest to mingle with the seemingly cooler, older crowd, unaware of how a few bites of food and sips of alcohol would affect me. Several appetizers and a cocktail later, the room started to spin (and not for the reasons most would suspect). Suddenly, I felt as though someone had lit a match to my insides, with the pain in my lower abdomen forcing me to sit down. Then, the intense nausea hit. It was to the point where I was sweating and turning red in the face, just to keep myself from getting sick to my stomach. As soon as I spotted a couch, I planted myself on it, laying horizontally across in hopes of making it all go away. And eventually it did…two hours later. In the mean time, groups of people came up to me, sympathetically asking what was wrong. Out of embarrassment and shame, I came up with the most plausible excuse I could.

In years to follow, the same pattern continued, with slightly different situations each time. I can’t even count the amount of times I have left a restaurant from an unexpected reaction to something I ate. Or the dates I have literally walked out on due to an upset stomach. Or the birthdays, meetings or important events I have missed because I’m just not feeling good.

I can’t express in words the gratitude I feel for those who have never questioned, but rather supported me during those rough patches. These past few months have been undeniably stressful, and it’s taken a visible toll on my health. Yet, I look around, and the same great people are still there.

While my post today is dedicated to my friends, my family also deserves credit for their constant love and support. I’ve come to accept the fact that my sickness related guilt may never go away, but I certainly feel better knowing I’m alone in my thoughts.

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The Places You’ll Go

Truth be told, I ripped off the title of today’s post from the Dr. Seuss classic, Oh, the Places You’ll Go!

And even though I received that book as a high school grad gift in 2003, the themes and ideas from it haven’t left my mind since. The famous children’s book is loaded with adult symbolism about goals, purpose and overall direction in life. To me though, every time I read it, I think of the literal places I will go.

I have this constant fear that time is passing me by too quickly, and that I will miss out on the things I should be enjoying at my age. And by “things” in this case, I’m referring to travelling.

For years, I’ve wanted to visit countries and experience cultures all over the world, but realistically, I knew there was a chance it may not happen—or at least not in the time frame I had hoped.

When I was 18, the age where you basically make all decisions for yourself, I had two main priorities: to move out and to start a career. So for the next eight years to follow, I made those goals happen.

But because of such goals, my dreams to travel got thrown somewhere on the backburner.  That’s not to say I haven’t been on some amazing trips in my lifetime, but until last year (and with the help of my incredible Aunt), I had never left the continent.

And now that I’ve inevitably accomplished my goals of moving out and starting a career, I’ve moved on to other priorities: marriage and  the potential (and major!) purchase of a house.

So once again, my priorities have overtaken my desire to do any kind of serious travelling. But at the end of the day, I would not trade my choices for anything.

Sure I could book a quick and easy all-inclusive right now, but then I probably couldn’t afford to have an awesome wedding in a month.

And sure I could quit my job (and maybe convince John to do the same), but would it be worth giving up what we have both worked so hard to build?

What I’ve come to realize is that you can’t have it all—or at least not all at once. And the harder you work for something, the more you will appreciate it.

I have such fond memories of my travels thus far—everywhere from Montreal to New York, Vancouver to Hawaii and Greece to Italy. And part of the reason why I think so highly of these places is because it took a great deal of time and effort to get to there.

So I’d like to make a toast to all: to the places you’ve been and the places you’ll go…