Me Before You

I’ve lived with a chronic condition for the past 2 years. This has caused me to split my life into two-parts: Before and After. Even though my life stretches 22 years long, I blur together the first twenty and the last two.

The moment after I got diagnosed I had doctors and specialists telling me about a hundred different ways in which my life had to be different from that point on. What food to avoid and what food is safe, what types of exercise are beneficial and what types should be avoided, what to put on your body, what to put around your body, and the list goes on and on. Mix that together with a couple handfuls of tests, a dash of medication, and you got yourself my life the last 2 years.

My condition, henceforth referred to as “you”, felt as if it defined my whole life within a matter of seconds. From living carefree to living carefully, my life became filled with second-guessing and ingredient list checking.

So is before better than now? Or is now better than before?

Honestly, I’m not sure. While before I may have not seen all the emotional turmoil bubbling underneath the surface, there is almost a gift in being blissfully unaware. Now I’m facing all the emotions head-on that I never allowed myself to express in the past and while I have grown as a person the last couple years, it took a tsunami to get me here (needless to say, I definitely could have done with a gentle wave).

Do I wish I could go back to before? Sometimes.

My life before was like driving with blinders on. I drove as fast as a I could toward the destination that I had in sight without room for pause or consideration for my health, happiness, or well-being. I could not see how my frustrations took a toll on my relationships or how my fear of never being good enough caused me to overwork myself and develop an unhealthy relationship where work always won.

That was me, before you.

Then when you happened, I got my blinders taken away and I saw everything for what felt like the first time. There was no longer a target to run toward and no race to be held so I saw the relationships I neglected when they needed my attention more than ever, my body that was screaming at me to slow down, and my happiness that felt like a stranger.

Past me, you were great. You were beautiful and full of life. Enjoying the finer things in life and living carefree—you ran as far as your legs would carry you, but you were also in a lot of pain.

Still, I can’t deny that I’ll miss you. I’ll probably miss you more than you’ll ever know.

But you’re not here anymore and I’m getting really tired of missing a ghost.

It’s true, my present is different than before. My body has been through a war and the scars have yet to fully heal. As a result, my life is not as carefree as it used to be with medications I have to take and restrictions that have to be put in place. And yeah, sometimes it sucks.

But now is all I have. It’s all we ever really have.

Whether I agree with it or not, like it or not—the present is all that exists. No matter how much time I spend missing what was, it can never turn my past into what currently is.  

So yeah, me before you, she was great. But me after you, she’s on her way to being even better.