What the 10-year Facebook photo challenge showed me

So this was me 12 years ago, I look and don’t remember being so carefree, I have forgotten the younger version of me that wasn’t constrained by constant exhaustion, when pain didn’t dictate my every move. When I didn’t have to plan every step I took, when I didn’t need to schedule events in advance and be so calculated with every little thing I did. I don’t look at this photo and think about the wrinkles or how much older I look, I think about what the last decade of living in constant pain has shown me.

Chronic pain and illness may have worn me down over the last decade, physically, mentally and spiritually, it may have at times, broken me down but it has also built me back up. I miss that younger version of myself but also know how much I’ve grown and learnt over that time.

It would be so much easier to wallow and feel self-pity over the endless surgeries and constant pain but instead I choose to celebrate the positives of this journey, the strength I never knew I had, the tenacity I’ve shown and the self-awareness and desire to better myself I have discovered. I’ve been able to look inward and find a version of myself that has been able to accept the challenges life has thrown at me, sometimes with inappropriate humor and sarcasm but mainly with positivity, optimism and a smile.

Do I wish my path was different?

Yes, sometimes, because some days I day dream about the life I might have without my illness and what I might have achieved, where would my career be, would I have achieved more, would I have been able to have more than one child and so on, but mainly the answer is No.

No, because the path I’ve had has lead me to the point I am at now. A destination that has my miracle son, amazing family and friends, a drive that’s never seen me give up. I have a busy and overwhelming life being a parent and a wife, I hold down a job, my husband and I run our own business, I blog to try and help and inspire others and I try and be a good friend to those I care about, a good wife, daughter and sister and try and be the best mum I can be. All of which frankly leaves me exhausted all the time but I wouldn’t have it any other way.

If the last 10 years have taught me anything is that I can handle ANYTHING life throws at me. That this journey has made me strong enough to endure life’s obstacles and challenges and that if you choose to look at life the same way, you too can endure, find your inner strength and own your story. After all it is your journey, you are the author and you can choose to become the hero of your own story if you choose.

So when you look back at that first profile picture and compare to what you look like now don’t think about the aging lines or wrinkles, celebrate what you have achieved in that time, the big, the small, even the fact you are still standing despite the hardest of journeys. Celebrate you and all your splendid glory because you are amazing even if you don’t know it.

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