A woman sitting at a laptop shopping, being social, and healing. There is a thought bubble of her walking with friends through a shopping mall.

I Miss Doing Things

Suddenly, I miss doing things. Maybe because it’s winter, maybe because my “normal” friends are posting activities, maybe because my rheumatoid disease is not under good control due to 2 back-to-back bouts of bronchitis, maybe because every once in a while my limitations reach out and attack me. Whatever is causing it, I’m struggling with the changes in my life.

Adjusting to having limited mobility

I miss shopping. Not necessarily shopping for stuff, but the ability to go “window shopping” whenever I want. For those of you unfamiliar with the term, “window shopping” is when you go to the mall or an outdoor shopping area and just look and walk. My mom taught me the joy of this. She grew up in the Depression, and rarely had store-bought items. Some of my favorite memories with my mother were window shopping. We talked and dreamed and usually stopped for a Coca-Cola.

Life changes due to back surgery and RA

What I really miss are the times spent with friends while we walked and talked. I am unable to stand for more than about 15 minutes and walking is about the same. I had back surgery about 22 years ago, and now I have significant arthritis in the area. Add in rheumatoid disease, and my ability to “shop” Is curtailed. I have considered getting a scooter, but I’m not ready to accept that yet. I am also one of those people who love to grocery shop. Now I have to enter the store with an exact list, hunt it, and drag it home. No more perusing the aisles for new and interesting items.

Missing out on my favorite places and activities

I miss going to farmer markets and Dollywood. Dollywood has such great exhibitors and shops with unique hand-crafted items. I always enjoyed watching the glass blowing and the forge. I miss going dancing. I can handle about one dance and I’m done in. Most of all, I miss being able to just go without thinking, planning ahead, taking medication and water, and knowing where I can sit down.

Constantly adapting and adjusting with rheumatoid arthritis

Do you ever feel like your life with rheumatoid disease is one adaptation after another, one adjustment after another? You are not alone. We all struggle with this, some times more than others. Most of the time, we cope well. But some days are hard. Some days, I want my other body back. The one I could depend on no matter what. The body that hiked up Mount LeConte in the Smoky Mountains, elevation 6000 feet in 5 miles. I miss the body that performed in operas, musicals, and recitals without pain.

Reaching a place of acceptance with rheumatoid arthritis

So how do we adapt and accept? We have to use a current frame of reference. We have to stop comparing ourselves to others and to our former self. I remind myself that when this all started, I was on bed rest for 4 months. Since then, I was able to return to work part-time and, as of last year, I am full-time at work. This is a big win.

Doing my favorite things but differently

I am out with friends less, but I read more. For a bibliophile, that is a great blessing. I’m grateful for the RheumatoidArthritis.net website because I always have friends to turn to who truly understand. I go out with a friend who likes to stay close to home. I still get to go out, but I don’t have to go far or for long.

I chose to shop online or in smaller stores. When I do have to slow down, I remind myself that slowing down will help me to recover faster.

We should celebrate what we can do

Somedays I am better and accepting and adapting, and somedays I’m not. And that’s okay. We are needlessly hard on ourselves. If a good day for you is getting out of bed and getting a shower, then celebrate that. We should celebrate every day we have and congratulate ourselves for making the most of whatever the day brings. Just writing about how to approach things helps my attitude. I hope this has helped you.

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