I was — and still am — reading all the back posts on Helen’s Pens and Needles, when I stumbled across this lovely post about pacing oneself. The quote in the title comes from that post. (And it kills me, because it is so good.) She writes about the not-so-fun choices people with chronic illness have to make:
Let’s be honest: the fact that we’re forced to measure negative against negative, and simply choose the lesser of the two, really sucks. But there’s another way of looking at it. Despite illness, we aren’t giving up. I like my turkey dinner, and I’m damned well going to eat it like a man. I like a late night out now and then, and I’m not going to give that up either. And if I feel terrible the next day, well, I’m strong enough to handle it. We all are.
To which I say: amen, and amen. The decisions I have to make on a daily, hourly basis deal with the worst kind of math: carefully adding up all the things I have to do in a day — how long I stay at work, whether I exercise, what I decide to eat — and see how much exhaustion or pain it will equal. But, avoiding the bad isn’t the way to live, I don’t think. Sometimes, the effort it takes to walk the dog, enjoy my neighbourhood and spend time with my husband is more than worth it. Sometimes, that mug of frozen yogurt, topped with caramel sauce and, sometimes, pretzel M&Ms is more than how nauseous it will make me later.
I’d rather take the positive experiences, even knowing the consequences, than not have them at all. So, in my case, getting a bit of sunburn despite copious amounts of SPF 425 is worth it, if it means I get to spend time in the ocean.