Always Something to Look Forward To
When I set out to write this article, I was feeling down about my limitations and didn’t particularly know what to say about COPD, but felt like I needed to say something. I presented my conundrum to my friends, and they suggested that I make a photo essay about something I enjoy despite being sick.
So I sat down and the photos that spoke to me, that I decided to put in this essay, basically looked like a calendar of things I like that happen during the year.
And it struck me that there’s still always something to look forward to. There are great things that happen each season; there are celebrations throughout the year; there are quiet times, and small miracles, and there is the world and there is everything.
I hope it reminds us that despite our limitations, there is still a wonderful life we can experience. Here’s my calendar of meaning; I also hope you will create your own.
January means snow and quiet times and watching the birds, like this blue jay that visited my grove. It’s also my birthday celebration and chocolate cake, and chocolate cake is always something to look forward to. Especially if someone else makes it.
February means my husband’s birthday celebration on Valentine’s Day, snow, watching and feeding the birds, and looking forward to spring. Since being out in the cold weather hurts my lungs, I put up bird feeders outside my window and watch from my warm house.
March: Spring officially starts and here that means lots of daffodils and violets are blooming. Since the weather starts warming up I can go outside on sunny days and walk in my yard to get exercise (which is good for us COPD patients) and take pictures.
With April comes the blooming of fruit trees, the budding of deciduous trees and flowers. It’s beautiful. I really look forward to all the sunshine; it makes my SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) disappear.
I look forward to planting the garden in May, eating some of the fresh fruit that’s already ripe, and watching the butterflies and the busy bees. A good diet helps us people with COPD a lot and sun ripe berries are the best. We also celebrate Mother’s Day, a holiday I really like because feeling appreciated is a mood booster.
June means summer, picnics, taking lots of pictures, and watching the stars at night. It’s also listening to the crickets and small frogs singing. These are some of the things that are so important – having a good hobby and enjoying some quiet happy moments. We also celebrate Father’s Day and it’s good to make someone else feel appreciated too.
My son really looks forward to July, which includes his birthday, the Fourth of July, fireworks, baseball, and swimming at his grandparents’ house. I don’t have the energy to compete with him in the pool; I do what I can which is sometimes just relaxing. But that’s healthy too.
I always look forward to summer, and one of the best parts is all the delicious produce from the garden, like this jalapeño. In August we have a great time canning, drying, and most of all eating the fruit and vegetables. My husband, son, and I all pitch in and do it in bits, which is the way I need it with my energy levels. The summer gets really hot here so I go outside in the morning when it’s cooler and sleep in my shaded hammock if I need to rest.
I also look forward to the summer heat winding down in September and the start of the changing colors of leaves. The area where I live also a good number of apple trees and a few autumn festivals. I can navigate the festival with my power chair or rolling walker if I can use it. That way I don’t miss out on any fun.
We love October and the official start of fall and celebrating Halloween. We pop popcorn and watch a scary movie each night. I like to put up a few decorations and if I’m not up to carving a jack-o-lantern, I paint on the pumpkin instead. It’s less messy that way anyway.
I look forward to Thanksgiving during November. For us it’s less about eating – though I’m always thankful to eat a delicious meal – and being mindful about what we’re really grateful for. That’s important to me because it can be really easy to resent being sick. And my family knows that some years we’ll have a good feast and some years we’ll have pizza, depending on what we’re up to cooking.
I look forward to a lot of things during December. Winter begins and the first snow is always beautiful and peaceful. And we like celebrating Christmas and New Year’s. We do a bit of decorating and my son puts up the tree since I can’t anymore. We have a few gifts and lots of egg nog and cheer. Again, we may not have a Christmas Dinner but that’s all right.
And then New Year’s means the year is starting over anew so there’s everything to look forward to again.
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