My husband calls it “The Incident.” I refer to it as “when my head exploded." The aneurysm that ruptured and tried to drown my brain was clipped in 2016. That life-threatening, existence-altering event, spawned a super-sized entity that I named the Boss. Recovery was hard work with the Boss dictating what, how and when I reached my goals. All the life decisions for years were still regulated by what the Boss decided was possible.
Two years ago, I shared an article here (https://taaftalk.org/the-gift-of-now) describing the first big post-recovery transition. I went from doing the hard work to being a Survivor while accepting the limitations the Boss imposed. I learned strategies and accommodations and, within my carefully guarded bubble, was living a contented life..
Now in my seventh bonus year of life, I am beginning to reclaim control of my decisions and options. It’s been a challenging period in my little part of the world, as it has in the larger world, and those challenges have caused my personal lens and perspective to widen. In the last few years, I’ve experienced four of the five major life stressors, but things are more stable now. The strength I found as a survivor has helped me to reach a new level of transition. I had no idea that it was possible to see myself as a regular person again. I thought I’d be under the control of my aneurysm and the Boss for all the bonus time I’d have.
Not true! I’ve taken my power back and become a more complete individual. It’s been a slow, incremental, internal shift in identity. The accommodations and strategies I developed are still present and necessary, but are not as absolute as they were. There’s room for flexibility and I can make choices without the Boss’s strict demands.
It is such a liberating time. These are my bonus years, and I will make the most of them. I will always keep the Survivor tag on my keychain and display it with pride. I will forever be enthralled with butterflies as symbols of renewal and rebirth; The burdens and constraints the Boss had imposed in the past have been lifted. For the first time since The Incident, I can see many possibilities for the next phase. I’m looking ahead and the shadow of the struggle doesn’t loom as large.
The Gift of Now (my previous article) was about being able to rest after battling so hard to regain life. You’re Not the Boss of Me means taking back control of the what, when and where. I can push myself or take a chance without fear of serious consequences or setbacks. Recharging comes easier, and I don’t have to monitor my supply of spoons as closely (Spoon Theory - Miserandino). I can do almost anything while adapting to my ever evolving limitations. Self-care is important, but I get to decide what that looks like. So, I’ll socialize when I wish, write and photograph as often as I wish, and travel again. I’m most excited to get involved with the outside world again. I think I’m truly ready to begin my retirement. There is so much to explore and I get to choose what the journey entails.
To learn more about Beth Losk. Click the photo below.