Friday, March 12, 2010

Wagons

I'm sure this has happened to others.  January came around and I was determined to turn over a new leaf and improve myself.  This year, I'd really make a difference.  I would lose that extra 20 pounds I'd gained (did you notice the ladybug on my blog hasn't crawled much yet?), take charge of my health and figure out how to better manage my symptoms, do more exercising, get organized, and finally take steps to get going on a few big projects that have been on my mind.  I would be a better person and improve my health, looks, and self-esteem.  Why wait, right?  I knew it would certainly be a challenge, but not impossible for me.  I mean, ME - I'm a determined person, always looking for improvements, and I've got plenty of character.  I could surely get a few things going.

Of course, you know what's coming.  I tried to get on too many wagons at once.  Silly me - I set myself up for additional stress and problems by forgetting that I'm merely human.  We would love to think of ourselves as at least better than average, wouldn't we? 
I'm better than most.  I can handle this AND that... and that, and that, and ooh, let's throw in that, while I'm at it....
Oh sure.  Throw it on top of the pile.  Put it on the list.  I can do it.  I can do anything I set my mind to.  Ugh... hasn't Fibromyalgia taught me anything?  How could I have missed this one?  I have limitations.  Even "normals" have limitations.

So, here's what I've learned about all this.  When I get on a wagon, I'm on THAT wagon.  I can look at other wagons while I'm on one, and I can plan my transitions to other wagons, but I can't ride them all at the same time.  Once I get to my destination on the first wagon, I can transfer to the next wagon and hop on it for a bit.  Eventually, I will get to my destination, and the riding may be slow or bumpy.  

I am the driver of these wagons.  I've driven wagons before, but it's been a while.  I will have to account for a break-in period and get accustomed to my new wagon.  I may make some wrong turns or get lost, but eventually, I'll get back on track and make progress on my journey.  I will see new and interesting things along the way.  I will see some old friends and meet new folks, some helpful, some not so helpful.  The road may be smooth or bumpy.  If it gets too bumpy, and I'm not prepared, I may fall off the wagon, but the wagon will not ride off without me.  It will be there when I'm ready to get back on and keep going.  These stumbles will help me learn when to brace myself and where I might expect more bumps.  Each time, I will be better prepared than the last.  I will make slow and steady progress toward my next stop.  I'll journal about my trip and take pictures, so I'll remember interesting experiences.  I'll share some of my experiences with other travelers I encounter on the same roads.

I plan for real trips in great detail, choosing routes, stops, and any transfers.  I do my best to estimate the timing, with plenty of cushioning just in case of unforeseen delays and problems.  I also pack extra necessities, just in case.   I prepare for the entire trip as best as I can.  If I forget to pack something I need, I may be able to substitute by buying or borrowing things along the way, or find creative ways to make do without them.

Now, which wagon should I choose to drive first?  Sometimes, the most important one should come first, but sometimes it makes sense to make a shorter, easier wagon ride first.  Once I've planned my entire "journey", I can fine tune the details of which wagon is closest, a reasonable distance to travel, and how to get to the next wagon.  This is going to take some thinking.  I don't have all the answers now.  All I know now is that I need to think about what I want and plan this out before taking my progress seriously.