Health and happiness and peanut butter

I love Christmas (you’re all shocked, I know). I would give up birthdays for the rest of my life for one Christmas season. I have always loved Christmas, but the last few holiday seasons have come when I needed it most, when I really don’t know how I would have made it through if I didn’t have Christmas to look forward to.

Now, as much as I love Christmas, and as much as it’s helped me through those otherwise very bleak times in my life, Christmas has also brought with it some big letdowns…I mean come on, is a pony really too much to ask for? No but seriously, for the last few years, Christmas was also the time of year for facing up to the fact that despite how earnestly I had wished that by next Christmas I would be healthy, I still wasn’t.

Christmas is the time of year when the whole world sort of turns into a greeting card. I love a good dose of cheesiness as much as the next person. Actually, that’s a lie; I love a good dose of cheesiness more than the next person, but one type of holiday wish always contributed to the letdown…

Wishes for a healthy and happy new year!

Health and happiness to you and your loved ones this holiday season!

Blah blah blah healthy and happy blah blah blah!

Health and happiness join forces as a very common wish this time of year. They are kind of the peanut butter and jelly of the Christmas card world. Heck, I’m sure I’ve wished the pair countless times in the past. I’m a sucker for alliteration so I can’t help liking how they sound together, especially when you add the word holiday to the mix.

Yet, each year when I would write Christmas cards and wish people health and happiness, and each year when I would open Christmas cards wishing me the same, I was faced with the disappointment that another year had gone by and I still wasn’t healthy. And then I would once again spend the next year wishing and waiting for that magical holiday combination of health and happiness to find me. Basically, I was waiting for my life to turn into one of the made-for-TV Christmas movies I spent all day watching. But all that wishing and waiting and disappointment? It was exhausting.

I was really sick last Christmas. Well guess what? I’m still really sick. Sure I’m better in some ways, but I’m also worse in some ways. Mostly I’m just more used to everything so I’m a lot better at faking my way through it.

Bummer, I know.

But wait, it gets better.

This is the first year since I was first sick six Christmases ago that I’m not disappointed to not be healthier than I am. I spent all those years wishing and waiting to be healthier because I thought that I needed better health to make me happy. Here’s what I’ve come to learn, though – one does not depend on the other. Don’t get me wrong, being healthy and happy at the same time is wonderful! However, there are a lot of people in the world who are healthy and not happy. And there are a lot of people in the world who are happy even though they aren’t healthy.

I know because I’m one of them.

I’m not waiting to be healthy anymore. All that waiting was actually getting in the way of me being happy. I don’t need to be healthy; I can be happy anyway.

I am happy anyway.

Of course I would love to be healthy, too! Who doesn’t like peanut butter and jelly? And being healthy is definitely something to be happy about. But it’s not the only thing.

Now, don’t get the wrong idea here and think that being sick sounds like a good way to find happiness. It’s not like that. And it drives me crazy when people don’t appreciate their health and don’t take care of themselves, so if you start to throw your health away I will probably hit your head against the wall…except not actually because what if you got a concussion? Then I would be the one contributing to your compromised health and I wouldn’t want that. No heads against the wall then…instead I’ll just stare you down and I don’t want to brag or anything, but I do a pretty good stare down. But this is off topic…

Anyway, health is not the only thing to be happy about. Today I’m happy that my sister gave me some rolls of life savers. I’m also happy that I had enough energy to drive myself to go drop off a Christmas present for my favourite doctor. I’m happy that I got to spend some time catching up with one of my friends via text this morning. I’m happy that my cousin Nicole helped me pick colours for my next crochet project. Oh, and I’m happy that my favourite sweater was clean so I could wear it.

Happiness is about making all those little things you’ve got count for more than the big things you don’t. It’s about loving what have, not having it all.

Yes, peanut butter and jelly are a classic combination, and health and happiness together are lovely, but let’s be honest here, peanut butter tastes pretty damn good all on its own.

So to all of you wonderful people reading this, you make me happy. From the bottom of my heart, thank you for following along and being part of this with me. Wishing you a Merry Christmas and may your holiday be full of…

Peanut butter 🙂

P.S. No I didn’t eat the peanut butter! Yikes. The temptation was worth the photo opportunity!

12 thoughts on “Health and happiness and peanut butter

  1. Thank you for reminding us that we can choose to be happy no matter what is going on in our lives, you are and inspiration, while I know you are told that a lot, I really mean it.
    Thank you and I am still going to wish you better health for 2016.
    Meredith

  2. You are such an amazing person Catherine, always happy with what you have! Enora and I would love to come and say hi. Thank you so much for all what you made for the family. Merry Christmas. I pray that the year 2016 brings you a better health.

    • Thank you so much! I’ve got another bag of winter accessories for family number 2 that my mom is going to pass off to someone. Send some love to Enora for me! I hope you all have a great Christmas together 🙂

  3. Not waiting to be healthy anymore — this was my takeaway. Focusing on the present, not on the future. It is tough going with chronic illness, sometimes you live minute to minute. Hope you get a diagnosis soon.

    • Hi Jeanne – it’s a tough balance, isn’t it? I’m in the present currently and not waiting to be healthy…but for all I know next month I might be back at square one with all the frustration and impatience that comes with it. I hope the future finds you letting go of the future a bit…if that makes sense 😛

  4. You are an awesome person and a true inspiration to us all, you remind us what Christmas is really about. I wish you a Merry Christmas and a happy new year!

  5. I love this post and wish you lots of jelly to go with your peanut butter this Christmas! (Figuratively speaking). Christmas can be such a difficult time for someone with a chronic illness, dietary issues or both (and maybe more). I hope you can have as much relaxation and fun as possible with a minimum of stress and fatigue. I am trying to solve that puzzle this year!
    May there be lots of enjoyable moments for you this holiday season with the warmth, love and support of family and friends.
    Merry Christmas and all the best for 2016

    • It’s a puzzle indeed! I guess we just have to deal with things as they come up and prepare ourselves that symptoms might get in the way now and again. If you figure out the magic solution for arranging all the puzzle pieces perfectly do let me know 😉 Merry Christmas!

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