Friday, February 3, 2023

The Balancing Act

Life is not predictable.

Some days I wish I knew exactly what to expect and where my life was headed, because then I would be prepared. I would brace myself for the impact or be ready with champagne for the celebrations. I was not prepared for living with chronic pain and illness. I was not prepared for the fight it takes to reveal this is part of my life. And, most certainly I was not prepared for my life to be critiqued by others. But now that I have survived the crisis years, the years of being angry and uncertain and ill, I choose to turn my life into one of belief and action and dedication to a purpose that, like it or not, chose me. I now live in faith. I live in faith that my life will unfold as it should and as it is meant to. I hold a deep belief that everything happens for a reason and my path, although difficult at times, has been and is exactly the road I’m meant to follow.

I do envy people who say their lives are in balance. What does that mean anyway? Is it physical equilibrium or emotional steadiness? If it’s both of these things – then wow – they got the good genes and hit the life jackpot! I don’t wish them to have my experience, but I would like others to show empathy and not judgment. In dealing with disease there is an inherent imbalance. Watch out for false prophets promising the regaining of health and wellbeing – they lead to false profits for others. Look for genuine people trying to help for the sole reason that it’s the right thing to do.

There are people who want to teach us how to lead a balanced life. Hmm – how can anyone portend to possess this knowledge? The reason I’m skeptical is that the nature of the universe is chaos. Without chaos we could predict a snow storm, prevent rock slides, or know from birth that we would be the ones to suffer chronic disease. In my case it is ankylosing spondylitis. Balance is for tight rope walkers, gymnasts, and yogis. And chaos is for the rest of us mortals. With all of that in mind, I do believe we need to find the proper balancing “act”. It is something to strive for everyday. A balancing act is an attempt to cope with conflicting factors and situations at the same time. A.k.a. – life.

In our daily balancing act, what we can predict is how we react to the situations that arise in our lives. Someone who says they can teach me balanced re-action would be someone I might listen to. I am not big on the “this is the way everyone should live” approach to anything, – be it love, politics, or health. We must all find our own way. Preaching lifestyle correctness is akin to telling Monet that he needs to paint like Picasso in order to achieve greatness.

In my journey I’m searching for the way that works for me and when I find it I promise I’ll share it, I am beginning to find my way, but I will never tell you it’s the only way. Life is not predictable – find the fulcrum for your life, but give yourself a break while you look for it. Give yourself permission to falter. Do the best you can for YOU! And, once you find your balancing point –you are no longer an actor in your own production. Your balance is the only kind that matters.

This article is intended to convey general educational information and should not be relied upon as a substitute for professional healthcare advice.

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  1. Heather

    Beautifully done as always Jenna. Big love to you

    • Jenna

      Heather – you are just the sweetest and loveliest person. You truly know what it is to be a friend.
      Thank you!
      xoxox Jenna

  2. Elin

    Life truly is chaos… and I too wish at times that I knew what life had in store, if only to brace myself for the impact; I don’t mind good surprised ( :
    Thank you for your wise words, Jenna! Beautiful as always


    • Jenna

      It means a lot to me to have you comment here. Thank you for all that you do for those of us living with AS. The Spondylitis Association of America is an amazing resource and truly a great support system for patients.
      Big Hug!

  3. Mirelle Andrea

    Hi Jenna!!
    Beautiful writing!!! Congratulations Jenna, you are an inspiration for all of us we are living with this kind of disease, Ankylosing Spondylitis.
    It is true, life is chaos like the nature of the universe. Is difficult live with chronic diseases, we are not prepared for living with an illness for the rest of our lives. I’m in the process to accept this illness, for accept my new life, for put apart the frustration and sadness and for starting to be proactive in my daily life. You have been an inspiration in my life, I see how you are fighting every day being proactive, accepting your new life with optimism and with love and empathy for others.
    Thank you so much for you daily effort, for your strength.

    • Jenna Visscher

      Sweet Mirelle – thank you my dear friend. It has been a long road for me to get to where I am today. Acceptance and balance are a long hard fight to get to.

      You are amazing and your support has helped me so much to continue making my daily apples and keeping on keeping on. How amazing is it that a horrible disease leads to meeting the most wonderful people? One day I hope to give you a great big, gentle hug!

      Love to you!

  4. Vic

    This is a great opinion piece Jenna, and I wholeheartedly agree with all that you wrote.

    It is us who have to live out our own daily lives, and try to do what is best for those we have to look out for, as in husbands, wives, and family members. How we do this is usually determined by how we were brought up by our parents.Those who wish to give us advise are usually well meaning, but they fail to understand our own particular circumstances, in that one day we may feel fine, and the next are a total train-wreck. A “one size fits all” solution is the last thing we need to hear.

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