3 places I will definitely go this year while living with lupus

This year, let's flip old assumptions about living with disease on their head

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by Candace J. Semien |

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An interesting video is circulating on social media that I’ve seen more times than I can count. While it may be just a colloquial trend used to boost a content creator’s analytics, it still offers an interesting declaration.

The video opens with a pensive-looking person with cursive text above their head stating, “3 Places I’m Not Going in 2024.” The person says, “There are three places I’m not going in 2024: above and beyond, the extra mile, or out of my way.”

Say what?

This year, they will not go above and beyond. They will not go the extra mile. And they will not go out of their way. Initially, I chuckled and fully understood the sentiment. Many people certainly have resolved to avoid exertion this year.

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But as I thought about it, I couldn’t help but remember my doctor confirming my lupus diagnosis and admonishing me to live life on an even keel by avoiding emotional, intellectual, and physical extremes. Yet looking back at the last eight years, my attempt to live “evenly” with lupus has netted me more anxieties and obstacles than protection from lupus flares.

So maybe this approach should be reconsidered. Maybe this year it’s time to lean into the extremes of life, where risks may be rife with happiness and joy. Maybe this year, it’s time to follow the advice of lupus advocate-educators like Lupus in Color, the Lupus Dream Team, and the Lupus Coach, who encourage people living with lupus to confront their fears, ditch the autopilot, and ignite their passions. Their messages, and others from lupus support groups, are clear: no scary lupus living!

We agree that this year should be about living with lupus and not just surviving lupus. This led me back to the three places the content creator I mentioned won’t be going this year — but I will:

I will go above and beyond

We can’t desire more from life if we’re living in the same predictable way. We must be willing to change and grow beyond the confines of our diseases. This can be done in moderation by understanding our body’s minute-by-minute needs. By honestly balancing our abilities, we can take a step above and move beyond what is common. Then, we can hold the reins of lupus and do a little more to realize our potential.

I will go the extra mile

Being inquisitive, curious, and courageous were common traits before I had to live through relentless flares. This is the year for me to restore those traits and do more for myself and those who have supported me. Going the extra mile not only entails doing what we want to do, but also adding a layer of perfection to it. Going the extra mile means being prepared for doctor appointments and committing to achieve one meaningful medical goal before the next appointment. It means advocating for ourselves and other patients with similar concerns. It means taking your medical mess and making it a masterpiece.

I will go out of my way

Out of my way is a risky place to visit. Getting there implies that distance is added to the journey and time and resources are lost. But what if that’s a lie? What if a route considered out of the way actually leads us to a place that is nurturing, validating, and supportive? What if going out of our way sets us up to achieve, or helps others achieve, dreams and goals that were set aside when pain and illness changed our abilities?

Not much of my life can be experienced outside the context of lupus. However, the pressure of lupus pushes us and helps us realize our potential, even though it may not seem that way. So let’s go above and beyond. Let’s go the extra mile. Let’s go out of our way.

These are actions we resolve to take. They offer a directive for us to respond to in order to have meaningful and complete lives beyond lupus. We are celebrating that chronic diseases have failed to kill us, and we are alive with the intention to live life more fully — above and beyond.

May we find interesting, adventurous, and uncommon joys throughout this year’s lupus journey. And with each day of this year, may we show up in places that heal us and celebrate every extra mile it may take.

Note: Lupus News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Lupus News Today or its parent company, BioNews, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to lupus.


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