When I was a kid, I was fascinated by spaceships, and I wanted to be an astronaut when I grew up. My dad used to take me to the space museum, and I became obsessed with seeing a real spaceship.
Planting seeds of new dreams
We lived in southern Sweden, so the chances of that were pretty slim, but of course, I did not know that.
My dad told me that on winter days when the sky was blue, I should go down by the swings and look up as the snow slowly started to fall, and I would see spaceships leaving the earth. I looked and looked and felt pretty sure I saw a few.
Of course, they were airplanes, not spaceships, and my spaceship obsession turned into an airplane one.
I decided being a fighter pilot was a better occupation than being an astronaut. This new ambition did not pass like many others in childhood, and I went as far as getting my private pilot license to prepare for joining the navy.
My dream job & RA
It turns out though, the navy does not want people with rheumatoid arthritis, and neither does NASA, for that matter.
I've heard the saying, "where there is a will, there is a waiver," but I don't think I have that kind of fight in me. I also didn't have the fight in me to keep race riding when I got sick, and I am still very disappointed in myself for that.
Expectations not meeting reality
I guess, to some extent, I am just disappointed in life. I thought things were going to be very different. I don't always feel this way; it is a feeling that comes and goes.
I have always said that sadness is my strongest emotion, whatever that means.
Sometimes I feel like the days I am in a lot of pain are easier than when I am not because I don't have to carry the guilt and burden of disappointment from my past self.
I often think about a quotation from one of Andrew Solomon's speeches, "grace under pressure, grievance under glamour." I've always had a special appreciation for that sentence. For anyone that has not read or listened to Andrew Solomon, I can't recommend him enough.
His ability to put words to feelings is unparalleled—something like Shakespeare, but a more modern take on things.
Managing mental health with rheumatoid arthritis
This all sounds very depressing, but it passes as all things do. I feel more inclined to write about bad things than I do about good.
Good things and happy feelings are simple; they don't need to be manipulated and strangled by lengthy paragraphs or dissected under a microscope of words.
That is one thing that having RA has emphasized for me.
There is beauty in the soft wind and sunlight, and beauty in stopping and letting yourself linger in that moment of time. Time is linear, but perspective gives it a third dimension, one with depth. Having RA, or any other disease, gives you that perspective.
I am not a kid anymore, and it doesn't really snow much where I live on the east coast of the US. I now know you can't see spaceships in the sky leaving the earth, and I don't have a lot of crazy dreams for when I grow up, because I am grown up. But sometimes, when the sky is blue and it is cold outside, I will pause for a moment and look up, and sometimes I could swear I see a spaceship streak across the sky.
On average, how many times per month do you (or your caretaker) go to the pharmacy?
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