I’ve always felt I could do anything I put my mind to. That’s what engaged parents tell us, right? That’s what all those '80s kids’ shows preached.
As I’ve gotten older, I’ve learned that I can do what I put my mind to, but I don’t want to mind all things. I’ll say it again. I can do most things I put effort into, but I’ve only got so much effort to apply.
I’ve been reading up a lot about pragmatism. I’m not naturally pragmatic. I live in a world of what if and maybe so. It helps me with writing and imagination. The other side of the coin is that I can find myself knocking my head against walls when the writing is often there. My migraines have taught me to be more realistic.
Here are eight things that migraines have canceled (or changed) in my life.
- Working all day without eating. Sometimes I just want to keep going with my tasks without stopping to eat. Don’t get me wrong -- I adore food. But sometimes eating gets in the way of what I’m going to call productivity. Other times, I’ve just run out of ideas to cook or order and it’s annoying. What I can do is liven up the leftovers in my fridge. What I can’t do is skip meals without expecting a migraine.
- Having more than one drink. I mean, I probably don’t need to do this anyway, but my body definitely knows if I’ve had more than one glass of wine or cocktail. Open bar be damned! Unless it’s sulfite-free or some type of organic alcohol, I am headachey if I try to down more than one drink.
- Regular chats with stressful people. I used to cringe at people who would talk about removing a toxic person (or people) from their lives. How can you drop a person? What if they need help? Well, as my age goes up, my patience for some behavior goes down. There are people, places, and things that can trigger a migraine for me. I have to limit my interactions with people who are just tiring to talk to. We all know people like this.
- Chocolate binges. Recently I was in Paris -- a chocolate-lovers paradise! However, I had to proceed with caution. For years, I’ve tried to deny just how much of a trigger chocolate is for me. I have to enjoy it in moderation. I dreamed once that I was drinking ladles of chocolate from a chocolate fountain. Weird! However, dreamland seems to be the safest place for a chocolate binge for me!
- Inconsistent bedtimes. Since I was a child, I have had disdain for consistency. It’s a wonder I get anything done. Any diet that suggests the same thing for breakfast every day won’t work for me. I don’t like to look the same every day and I would be quickly fired from any job that had me wear a uniform -- even a cute one. Living with migraine headaches has taught me that it’s not a good idea to go "night night" at vastly different times. To combat the boredom of a standard bedtime, I will try to mix up the night. One night I’ll read before bed, another I’ll watch a movie with the hubby, or I’ll enjoy a relaxing bath.
- Sweating the small stuff. I can be a little neurotic with some things. However, when those things trigger a migraine, they become an issue. Who cares if I didn’t make a homemade cake for the upcoming family function? OK, there is a dish in my sink when a neighbor drops by. So what! I’m thankful I’ve married someone who is more laid-back about most things. He’s helped me with perspective.
- Not moving. If I go too long without exercise of any kind, my back, neck, and shoulders get stiff and often a migraine follows. To this day, I don’t know why I don’t do more yoga. We all are probably guilty of bad posture -- slouching at a desk, hunching over to text, or sleeping like some kind of pretzel. I just need to move. When I don’t, I pay for it.
- Ignoring my period. For the last 30-plus years, I’ve had my period like clockwork for the most part. For almost all of those years, I’ve had a complimentary migraine to accompany said period. Each month, I am ‘surprised’ by a hormonal migraine. It’s almost comical. I’ve got to prepare better for what has been an inevitable migraine for years.
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