My American grandma frequently says something to the effect of: “if you don’t have your health, you don’t have anything,” which is paired with my grandfather’s trademark comment, “life is hard.” I didn’t find either of these particularly compelling or comforting when I was younger, and as I get older I confront the truth and limitations of these words.
The last few years have brought an assortment of minor, persistent physical discomforts which are typically paired with emotional ebbs and psychic scabs. It’s a new era in my sense of my body in the world. Living in my body used to be so uncomplicated. I hate to say this (because i hate the “pain as a teacher” school) but I think my new understating of mortality-dimly perceived-is making me more compassionate.
Life is hard and not having full use of my body definitely narrows my scope of available experiences – but neither of these realities is solely subtractive. Boundaries, even the ones I don’t wish for, provide insight and teach me (some) patience, and sometimes there’s even a measure of grace.