A very nice and concerned reader reached out to me a few months ago to ask how I was and wanted to make sure that the lack of posts wasn’t because i was sick.
I wrote him back but it also seems like a fair topic to mention on the blog that I haven’t blogged on for quite some time.
The shortest answer is working.
The medium-length answer is: working to figure out my next steps, post-diagnosis, and then putting everything I have into creating my next reality.
As a reminder, I was diagnosed with MS in March of 2014. I’d been visiting my parents in Texas when my symptoms (that had been accumulating over the previous 6 weeks) were finally so bad that they warranted a trip to the emergency room. Only on the SECOND trip to a DIFFERENT ER did doctors understand what was happening.
Staying in the hospital for a week — getting MRIs, a spinal tap, a bunch of sad faces — I decided to stay in Texas to recuperate not just because family is wonderful for healing and the fast pace of New York City is not, but because I had started my own company and was starting another one, and you can’t beat the cost of rent living at home.
That was almost four years ago.
The first year I focused 150% on healing and figuring out this disease and my version of it.
I dedicated what little energy I had to letting my body to heal and deal with this diagnosis.
I tried to turn every symptom on its head - rather than being upset that I was living with MS, I put my curiosity to work and observed what my body was saying it needed. Which was usually more rest. So that’s what I did.
I was also dedicated to sharing this process with others, hence this thing you're reading called Thrive with MS. As I researched and found more inspirational stories and reassuring scientific facts, I wanted to share these. I’d been a meditation guide for entrepreneurs at the time of my diagnosis and had used mindfulness tools to get me through this crazy diagnosis, and I wanted to share those with as many people as possible.
The second year - understanding the need for rest and proper nutrition (keeping on an anti-inflammatory diet), I was able to start doing more. Still living at home, still focusing on Thrive with MS —which included speaking to MS groups in cities nearby — I also started to freelance write and event produce. (And yes, I know that the lifestyle of event production is like the opposite of taking care and prioritizing health. It’s stressful and strained but working with friends made it easier. I saw this as a good litmus test to see if I could carve out time for my health needs amid the NOW, NOW, NOW demanding needs of event production. If you want to see what not quite hitting the mark with that looks like, check out my Not So Thrivey post.)
In year three I started to think about my next step. Pragmatics around freelancing more, and possibly moving. I realized that I didn’t want or need to go back to New York.
I have been in love with that city as much or more than most men I’ve loved in my life, but like all relationships, there comes a time when you have to be really real about your reasons for being in the relationship, and maybe question why.
I knew that New York no longer had what I needed.
But then where to move? I was still living with my parents (through housesitting for friends in different nearby towns with enough regularity that it didn’t feel like I was “living at home”). Nonetheless, I was beginning to plan my next step.
I was also planning to make a documentary, and in October of 2016 shot some footage that I thought would be the trailer of the doc in New York.
This fourth year kicked off with a very earnest and dedicated job search. Like a job-job, full-time kind of thing. I was freelancing quite a bit for various health and beauty companies, but I was yearning for financial stability so that I could move into Austin (city decided!).
As for my documentary, it had become a short art film. The process had unearthed the filmmaker within that had been dormant since my early years in LA just after college.
So when the nice, concerned person emailed me to ask what I was up to, and if I was ok, I was able to say yes. My health was good, I was just *busy.*
Though don’t think that I forgot about my health in all this busy-ness. It has been the struggle, the thesis, the lead concern and center around which all my awareness swirled. And I'm human... there have been weeks when I’ve done too much (turns out, having a lot of freelance work is great for income but taxing for energy levels). I felt the effects on my body. But instead of going down a fear spiral, i realized that this was a limit that I had crossed (working seven days a week for weeks on end), and I needed to come back to the safe zone of rest and self care that I'd discovered in year #1.
And in juggling all of this life stuff and work stuff that I did finally settle into a job-job. Of course as timing would have it, it arrived after I decided *not* to pursue a full-time gig in favor of freelancing to allow for filmmaking. But funny how things work out.
The concerned writer had hoped that I was in good health, living life to the fullest and dancing, as he'd noticed in this video.
Dancing's not all i’ve been up to -- but thankfully -- that’s still a part of it too.
Now that things have settled down a little, I’m happy to be writing again and look forward to sharing some really, really powerful health practices that have kept me in a really good place for these nearly four years. :)
More to come!