I have been asked what my goals are twice in the past two months. At one time, I would have told you that I was an ambitious overachiever. Now, I strive to get out of bed before 9 a.m. The first time it was on a questionnaire at the doctor’s office, and my snarky answer was to be alive by this time next year. I thought it was funny in a dark way, given the current status of my health. The doctor didn’t think it was so funny, that might be why he was all too happy to refer me for therapy.
The second time I was asked this question was a few days ago by a new friend who is also a business owner. I am rarely at a loss for words, but I had no real answer to her question. Just a few short years ago, I had goals to retire at 50 and travel the world to find a place to live outside of the U.S. Strangely, I have met those goals, but not in the manner that I’d anticipated. I raised two children on my own. I eliminated my debt and was stashing every dollar I had, investing in stocks. I’d hoped to buy a few properties to support me into old age. Instead, I was forced out of work almost five years before my deadline, was denied disability, leaving me to live on those savings and sell off my stock. Real estate for retirement seems like a pipe dream as I struggle to figure out who I am and what I’m doing with my life now.
I’ve been to many places since my diagnosis, but these trips have not been for pleasure. I moved to Thailand because my research showed they were very familiar with lupus, they had quality, affordable healthcare, and a lifestyle that was also affordable. It’s a developing country that offers first world amenities. I lived there for two years. I am now in Mexico because I was told that my persistently low platelet count could eventually be fatal. So I decided — last minute — to move closer to my children.
I had plans to leave Thailand and to try Portugal next. When I arrived in most of the countries I visited, there was stress on my body and days of pain and recovery. I have a few other countries I’d like to see before I stop globetrotting but because of the issues I seem to have after lengthy flights, I wonder if I will ever see them. I also wonder, based on not receiving disability payments and the inability to work, if I will see them because of financial constraints as well. I would never have thought that a question I’ve been answering all my life would cause so much introspection.
I have no answers at this time unless you count being alive at this time next year. I am currently exploring the passion in my possibilities. I’m optimistic that if I am asked this question in the next three months, I will have an answer. One that includes living — and not just being alive.
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