What is Next?


next-step

I want to start this post with a quote from Denis Waitley, an author and a motivational speaker.

Don’t dwell on what went wrong. Instead, focus on what to do next. Spend your energies on moving forward toward finding the answer.

I chose this quote because I have found myself in a rut lately. There have been some drastic changes in my life and the smart thing would be to move forward and focus on what’s next for me.  Rather than doing than doing that, I am dwelling on the past.  It is hard when you planned your life to be one way and quite the opposite happens.  Yes, I have a tendency to be a control freak and I am fairly certain it got worse after rheumatoid arthritis and fibromyalgia came into my life.

My life has changed a whole lot since chronic illness became my everyday reality.  I have learned that living with a chronic condition cannot stop me from doing what I need to do. I had to give up my dream of going to law school because of being sick but I went on and pursued a master’s degree in legal studies.  My passion for the legal field never changed.  I just compromised.  In addition, I went on to advocate for arthritis and fibromyalgia and I started to write three monthly articles for the health support sites I manage.

I just keep moving forward and there were some days where I had no idea how I did it. While there were setbacks, I did what I needed to keep my diseases from taking over my life and my future. But other stuff happened that was out of my control that made living with chronic illness look easy. My brother’s death, my mom’s stroke, and marriage problems and one day my world came crashing down. Depression is an awful and ugly thing and I wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy.

How could I have not gotten depressed? I was working so hard at being so strong for my kids, for my mother, and for appearances sake. The last thing I wanted was for people to see me falling apart – not my friends, not my family, and not my co-workers. Because Lana thought she was invincible. She thought that she could just put on a game face and show the world she was strong. She wanted so desperately to set a good example for her children but her logic was flawed.  She was teaching her kids the wrong thing. Rather than teaching them that true strength means seeking support and asking for help, she was telling them to carry all the world’s burdens on their shoulders. But I have come a long way from that. I found out what happens when you carry all that burden and you don’t seek support.

I really have come a long way from being diagnosed with depression and I have made great strides in better dealing with the challenges that life throws at me. Between medication and therapy, I feel balanced.  I have my good days and I have my bad days, but my good days are more often. What I have struggled with the most after all this change in my life is how to move forward.  I am rut and I don’t know what is next for me.  I am educated and I have no further plans to get any more degrees.  I am working hard at my job and hoping that I can move up soon and I am hopeful that this will happen.  I am also advocating at my health support sites and the company that owns the sites is very happy with how I manage the communities and also, my capacity as a writer. I think that they have given me a good stepping stone for moving forward but I am struggling with who I am now.

I have recognized myself for so long as a mother, a wife, a daughter, a sister, an aunt and friend but I have never taken the time to see myself as more than that. A chapter in my life has closed and while I am still a mother, a daughter, a sister, an aunt and a friend, I am no longer someone’s wife and it really saddens me. I moved forward because I didn’t really have a choice.  I was raised in a culture where marriage and family out prioritize anything else. While I am glad to be moving forward and I am relieved that chapter of my life is finally closing, I am struggling with who I am. I don’t know what it is next for me. If one more person asks, I just might punch that person in the face. I am kidding but in all seriousness, I don’t have the answer and it frustrates me that I don’t. (I can hear a certain dear friend telling me that I am not supposed to have all the answers.  Yea, you know who are!)

For so long I have done what I am supposed to do.  I did what was expected of me even though it was not always what I wanted. Now, I know that I don’t always have to do what is expected. I need to do what makes me happy even though it does not make everyone else happy.  I love my mother and I loved my father when he was alive (and I still do) but they came from a culture that stressed family over an individual ideal. I have dealt with that my entire life and my life has resolved around my family’s feelings about the choices that I make. I have started to rethink my understanding of what is important. I have grown up and I now realize I have made choices that pleased others and didn’t always make me happy. That realization is scary but acknowledging can allow me to stop seeking approval.  I got to do what makes me happy.

So, what is next?  I am starting to think about that. Where do I go from here?  I don’t know what but tune in and you are sure to find out.

6 thoughts on “What is Next?

  1. Lana my first marriage fell apart after 8 years and I was sure that I would never marry again as I did not want to go through that again. Well my best friend from high school had other plans for me haha. Her oldest brother (who I had only met once years before) had recently divorced also. She decided we would be perfect together! We married and blended our families. He had custody of his daughter and I had sole custody of my two children. We will be married 19 years in November. I am not saying it has always been easy as my illnesses has definitely affected all of our lives. There have been days I am not able to be wife, mom, cook, housekeeper or whatever and all I am is the lady that is in the bed needing their help and you know what they have been there for me.I have felt the weight of the guilt for not being all I wanted to be for them but they have turned out pretty ok and have gave me three beautiful grandchildren. I always wish more for them but I think that is the parent in all of us. I keep pushing them to do more than I ever did.
    You are a wonderful woman and you will find your way one step at a time in this crazy place. Cut yourself some slack my dear and enjoy the ride as you have been doing a heck of a job for people. Now enjoy taking care of you as you deserve it!

  2. Moving forward and doing what is right for YOU can be really hard – especially when you are used to pushing aside the guilt of chronic illness. I hope you are able to move forward and find happiness, even if it is only one tiny step at a time. ~;o)

  3. So what’s next? Just kidding, you don’t really have to drive to Oklahoma to punch me in the face. It’s okay to not have all of the answers, just make the best of each day and work on making yourself happy a little bit every week. I don’t know how you pull off doing all that you do (and not punch someone in the face). I completely agree with ladyredpeppers closing, “enjoy taking care of you as you deserve it!”

    • I am focusing on just trying to take care of me and my kids. Right now, I am in a good place and when I am ready, I will take on something new. I think that sometimes it is okay to just be okay with the things that are going right.

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