How a prolonged migraine made me count my blessings

To be able to type this sentence, in this browser window, is a blessing. Little actions that we take for granted everyday. Switching on the computer, looking at the screen, typing, creating.

For the past few days, I couldn’t even bear to look at the screen, much less type. I was having a prolonged migraine attack, any form of bright lights – computer screen included – only served to intensify my pain and nausea.

When taking strong painkillers for a few days didn’t help much except to numb the pain to a somewhat manageable level, I sought the sinseh’s help. On hindsight, perhaps I should have gone earlier. I just didn’t expect to wake up with the migraine hovering around for the past few mornings. Each morning, I would expect it to have gone away, just like the previous migraine attacks I’ve had.

This morning, I woke up, the pain seemed to have truly gone away (after 2 doses of some strange chinese medicine mix. The wonders of TCM). I didn’t want to jinx myself, so I was apprehensive in judging my state of health. A migraine attack, something that doesn’t seem to endanger any part of my life, but rendered me totally useless.

I don’t know whether it is a sign of age, that I am about to reach 30, that my body cannot recover the way it had before, or was it because I have abused it so badly during my younger years when sleep didn’t matter much to me. The diagnosis I had yesterday – I had an irregular pulse, my circulatory system was not working properly, hence the lack of blood circulating to my brain – was it an accumulation of all those late nights?

So the sinseh’s advice to me was to keep my life right now fairly routine and disciplined, no more late nights, no more stress, no more taxing my body or mind in any way. I feel like a walking time bomb, unsure of the next moment of my next attack, uncertain when will be the next period whereby I would have a downtime spanning days.

To a self-employed solo business owner, being down for more than a day is a disaster.

I thought about my peers, some running their own startups, some passionately involved their self-initiated projects, most of them seeming to run on a bottomless oil tank. I finally understood yesterday, that I would not be like them, nor can I expect myself to be like them anymore. That self-expectation that I can still carry on like my peers, is slowly killing me.

I cannot be like them, as much as I want to. I have to be myself, to count my blessings for every day of health I can possess. To be filling each and every day with meaningful actions. For me, it will no longer be about working hard. It will be about consolidating my efforts, picking and choosing my battles.

I need to learn the art of saying no, even to myself. All those times that it was me who wanted myself to stretch over the distance. I just thought I would be capable of overcoming any form of hardship. I never expected it would be my body that didn’t want to give me a choice anymore. Not at this age, not as this time of my life when I should be running at full speed ahead.

All my decisions now, will affect the quality of life I have in the next few decades. I am pretty certain that my state of health or the lack of it now is due to all those times I didn’t take care of myself when I was in the full pink of health during my twenties. I suddenly think of the professional footballer that keeps taking painkilling injections in order to play, only to end up losing the ability to walk when he retires. Talent or brilliance is pretty much useless if you don’t have the health.

I see this as a new opportunity for myself, since I am pretty much being forced into a corner. Having limits can actually inspire progress (Think Apple ;p). It gives me the opportunity to think about what really matters to me, and if I really have a limited uptime everyday, what should I be trying to accomplish?

I have to admit that till now I am still pretty much driven by my insecurity. This bout of downtime is simply repeating a message I’ve been being reminded for the umpteenth time. There’s no point in having that security if I am not able enough to type this blog entry. You have no idea how grateful I am now to be typing this. ;)