I have been working at repurposing things in my life, to use less, some of it out of necessity, some out of a want to simply life, start getting ready for a whole new chapter, reinventing my life on all levels. Some days it feels like there is a stranger living within me, somedays it feels like I am becoming at long last who I always strived to be. I am a complicated being and have become more complicated with the diagnosis of my vascular dementia. At times learning to maneuver all the challenges and changes it brought has and is difficult, some times frustrating, other days its so rewarding, some days feels like I have finally arrived, left me feeling grateful for the diagnosis, other days I hate it with every fibre of my being. But it has brought me to where I am know in this world of repurposing and refurbishing my life.
Repurposing has many different aspects to it, I have been taking clothes that I normally would wear only in certain seasons and finding ways to incorporate them into wearing anytime, this has allowed me to significantly cut down on how many items of clothing I need. It also lets me use them to the maximum of their life span. It has turned out to actually be fun, and yes I often look like that eccentric old lady going down the street, but that in itself can be fun, it makes people smile, and it seems that spreading a little cheer is something we all need to see more of.
I have also been using a skill which I had forgotten I even had that my mother and grandmother taught me in my young years, and that was to repurpose things in our house, whether a piece of furniture, or a pot or pan, finding ways to use things we have in different ways, how to not go buy things at the grocery store instead all of my cupboards and fridge and freezer have had an inventory done, I’ve been using what I have on hand to create a meal, and I must say I’ve somehow managed to come up with some pretty simple but good meals for myself. I am admittedly in part doing this out of necessity, rising costs are impacting my life, high rental costs, high costs for utilities, food. I was not expecting to be where I am today, but life took a complete turn with my diagnosis, but despite that, I am grateful in many ways that it took me to be here where I am today, my life is rich in many ways, just not in the ways that allow for a luxurious life, although luxury comes in many forms, and when I stop to think about it, my life is very luxurious. The reason I am doing this is because it feels good, it feels good to know the impact I am having on our mother earth is minimized by doing simple things and living simpler.
The other reason is all part and parcel of repurposing my life. I am analyzing everything, what I am doing, what is feasible to continue doing, changing how I am doing some things. this includes my advocacy work, giving up some pieces, refocusing some, in some things doing less, in others stepping up to do more, in some things letting them go altogether. This comes in learning to work through those moments where we somehow pile the quilt on ourselves ” that we should do more”, “that we should do better”, “that letting some things go will be letting others down”. So learning to be kind to ourselves so we can give more to the things we choose, and yes its ok for those things to change and be adjusted, it is in fact what helps keep us fresh, keeps us moving forward.
So we have to forgive ourselves for things we somehow make ourselves feel are not enough, because in fact they are enough. And yes many times people don’t like it when we change, when we do things that are different and not quite in line with how “we’ve always done them”, or what is the expected and accepted norm.
Today I had some incredible discussion and one of the things I was told, was it doesn’t matter if you are only helping one person with what you are doing or doing it on a global scale or community scale, one is no less important than the other, and that is actually healthy to change it up. It was great words of wisdom from one I admire a lot.
I am building a plan, not fully knowing if my health will allow for it to be realized, but I will continue to work on my plan through the winter months, and if God willing my health allows I will un-hatch the plan in spring. I have nothing to loose, if my health doesn’t allow, then at least I have kept exercising my brain throughout the winter working on the plan, and figure out what can and should be repurposed and brought into the next phase. If my health can maintain enough for the plan to hatched or not, it will and can never be for nothing, for I will have learnt about myself and many other things while building this new and repurposed life. I may have dementia, and things may be continuously changing and my abilities continue to change, but I will continue to challenge myself to use my abilities to have the best quality of life for myself as I can. I am grateful for those who are in the background helping me to obtain that, my circle is very small now, but those who have stuck around or showed up during this crazy journey have made a huge difference. Thankfully, the accept my worst days and brain fog, where having a conversations is challenging to my best days, they laugh with me and not at me, as one thing I have learnt is to laugh at myself, it feels much better than being angry about the situation or crying and being depressed about it. They are so good at not judging but instead embracing my lust to ride this journey out as fully as I can. Always watching and ready to jump in should I need help, but allowing me my independence, and my right to live at risk. For that I am eternally grateful.
I watch and look around at whats happening in our world and I feel so very deeply about whats happening, and I feel things so much more deeply, it impacts me more or maybe its just that I am more aware of its impact on me because I am more in touch with that part of myself, but I have also had to put a lot of that into a manageable piece as well, I can’t take it all on. It doesn’t mean that it doesn’t matter to me, but again repurposing my life so it can reflect the things that I can manage.
I am waiting to see the speech pathologist, and for some other tests from my internist2, my vocal abilities and swallowing abilities change sometimes many times in a day, but I am grateful that I have such great care, and that I have not lost my ability to write, which I am thinking more and more is such a gift that I received through my dementia diagnosis. And in closing I will leave with this thought, no matter if you have dementia or not, we all have the right and the ability to redefine who we are, repurpose our lives to be what we want it to be instead of what society tells us it should be. What about if we rethink dementia, what about we focus on the living piece not the dying.