Obviously after brain surgery, you’re going to be experiencing a lot of challenges and potential changes in your life-path. I went from being CRAZY-BUSY with my work and family to being quite mellow and REALLY enjoying soaking up the slower pace of life and quietude that I found by being “stuck” at home way up in the mountains. (Had I not had vision challenges I could have gotten back to work much earlier, based solely on my energy and spirits, but I was thankful for the extra time.) Friends often asked if I was going stir-crazy, but I honestly wasn’t. I SO appreciated the slow days and tried to be mindful of how good it felt to do less and be more present in all that I did do.
Having had surgery in October put me in a position of enjoying lovely weather to relax outside, walk up and down the hill in my rural neighborhood in sunshine, and make the upcoming holidays as festive as ever with all the time I had on my hands. From wandering around my property to collect greenery for holiday decor to preparing handmade holiday gifts, I thoroughly made the most of being “stuck” right where I was.
I got through my first post-op holiday, Halloween, with a festive spirit. (See this post.) My husband’s birthday landed a few days later, and I obviously didn’t have a whole lot of options for planning anything too extensive, but we made a special celebration for him nevertheless. I secretly emailed about 50 people asking them to send a “Happy Birthday” video message ASAP, and then I compiled them all into a heartwarming little, surprise iMovie for him. My daughter harvested apples from our tree to make him a birthday apple pie, my friend/neighbor picked up some other ingredients for us from the store, my son made whipped cream, and we had a super sweet and meaningful celebration…totally making the best of the situation we were in.
Soon after, we had “Fakesgiving” with my side of the family and Thanksgiving with my husband’s side of the family. Both were my first out-of-town excursions and definitely happy celebrations, despite my facial paralysis and post-surgery issues. We also took full advantage of the time off school and work to enjoy the outdoor beauty around us…and had my first post-op beach walks and trail hikes. There is SO much beauty to be found if you just go outside and make the most of your days…
I started to be able to read and watch shows and movies, so that was also a welcome development with my vision. (I rarely allowed myself time to just chill out and do that before.) I was listening to uplifting, motivational podcasts during my quiet days at home as well. (I like The Lively Show, She Makes Magic, Zen Parenting, The Chalene Show, Magic Lessons, etc.)
Christmas came next, of course. Typically during the Christmas season I get tempted into buying a bit more than I (or anyone else needs) because of successful marketing in stores. Since I couldn’t drive in to town this year to do my shopping, I saved a ton of money by not getting sucked into unnecessary purchases! While I do aim to buy local and “shop small” as often as I can, this year I had to do all of my shopping online. I WAS able to, however, find a lot of gems on Etsy and independent small stores online, and I did not have to rely entirely on Amazon, which made me feel better.
I even finally got my hair done and went to a Christmas party donning a fabulous “ugly Christmas sweater” and shimmery silver shoes. Why not? (Again, facial paralysis just isn’t enough to keep me from enjoying the holidays.) I think it was my most favorite holiday season ever, in fact, as I was more present and grateful than ever before. (Usually it’s my ridiculously busy season with work.) I LOVED slowing down and soaking up the festivities and free time with my family, having the time to be more creative, and just continuing to focus on gratitude, so as to overpower any frustrations about anything at all…
“It is not happy people who are thankful. It is thankful people who are happy.”
We all deserve to be happy, and we’re the only ones who can cultivate it.