Being bound to my bed most of the time, I watch a lot of YouTube videos. Particularly vloggers because they bring me out of my own life for a little while and even let me live vicariously through them. I’ve been battling one chronic illness or another for most of my life. I’d be lying if I said I remembered what it was like to be a functional, able-bodied human in society. So, sometimes, when I watch these 100% healthy vloggers, it amazes me that they’re able to get so much done in one day.
It amazes me that they’re able to sleep through the night and wake up refreshed, ready to take on their day. It amazes me that they can finish a full breakfast and keep it down, clean their entire house, and still have the energy to go grocery shopping, all before noon. It amazes me that travel vloggers can visit a new place every few days and not be limited by motion sickness, fatigue, blood pooling, pre-syncope, and all of the other symptoms I start to feel as soon as I wake up at night (yes, at night, because that’s how messed up my sleep schedule is).
I have to admit, I find myself a little jealous… Though I wouldn’t change who I am or the experiences I’ve had, I’m jealous because they’re living the life my younger self pictured for present me. I’m twenty years old. Spending 90% of my time in my childhood bedroom is not where I thought I would be by now. I’m supposed to be in a dorm in New York University (younger me actually wanted Harvard), arguing with my roommate over whose turn it is to take out the trash. I’m supposed to be applying to grad schools, worrying too much about my grades, and going home on weekends to do laundry. I’m supposed to be figuring out who I am, making lifelong friends, and absorbing everything I possibly can in what little time I have left before I graduate.
I am not supposed to be spending my Tuesday night researching the risks for regular IV infusions. I am not supposed to have eight tabs open consisting of blog posts detailing each person’s experience with their chest ports. I am not supposed to be making a pro/con list for applying for a service dog. I am not supposed to be bookmarking a shower chair I intend on ordering, or researching different wheelchair styles to find what will best suit my needs. Yet here I am, at eight o’clock in the morning, doing all of these things because this is my life. This is my reality. This is my normal.
Don’t get me wrong, I am not complaining, nor am I seeking pity! Like I’m always saying, I’m grateful for the experiences I’ve had and life lessons I’ve learned because of my chronic illnesses. However, watching so many people live their lives in ways that I simply…can’t has a tendency to make me reflect on what my life would have been like had I been just a few seconds earlier getting to my locker that day in the seventh grade.