Being a member of the human race (which may be contrary to popular belief), I have this desire to do something I have never done. Dreams and ambitions are something that every person, regardless of age has. Of course these vary in magnitude, whether its’s a simple new years resolution, or you plan on crossing off something from your bucket list, we all have one or two. It’s seems quite remarkable how these change over time. The older I get and the more I experience in life, the more my ambitions seem to evolve. Whilst I was at school all my ambitions were aimed towards my career, all I wanted was to be a Bank Manager. Yeah, that didn’t pan out, thankfully (I think). These day’s all my ambitions are focused towards bettering myself as a person, and hopefully inspiring others along the way. I’d have never thought that I’d be where I am today.
Having a chronic illness can have an obvious impact on your dreams and ambitions. If you struggle to walk then your hardly going to be aiming to climb Kilimanjaro are you? Well actually maybe that is your ambition. By definition ambition is “a strong desire to do or achieve something”. So why can’t you have a strong desire to climb Kilimanjaro? Just because you now have a diagnosis for an illness, you have probably been dealing with the illness for much longer than you have been diagnosed. So why should your ambitions change for the worse. Having a chronic illness will have restrictions, but it doesn’t necessarily have to restrict what you can achieve. Yes you may need more time, effort, or planning to reach your goal, but that will make it the more satisfying wouldn’t it?
After having some pretty bad, and disabling ‘flare ups’ of my Ankylosing Spondylitis (AS), I would have never had thought I’d be able to run a 5k race, but I did!! It was far from easy, and there were a few set backs along the way, but I achieved what seemed to be once unachievable. Doing this I proved to myself that I can still achieve things with the right support and sensibilities. This ‘life changing’ illness didn’t need to be that life changing after all. However; the nature of chronic illness is that it will inevitably progress, making it difficult to achieve the same type of ambition. Given my focus has changed with age so far, maybe it will continue that way and my focus will be on the things I still can do as my illness progresses.
Chronic illness need not stop you from doing everything you wanted to achieve. It may indeed inspire you to push yourself and achieve more like myself. No matter how big the achievement, ambition and desire is what drives us to better ourselves as human beings.
So, what are your ambitions? Have they changed since the diagnosis/progression of your illness? Did you recently achieve one of your ambitions? Or are you struggling to figure out how you can achieve one of your dreams, and would like some ideas / help? I look forward to your comments, and I’ll leave you with this thought:
“No bird soars too high if he soars with his own wings.” – William Blake