My Life as Art-A-Whirl

This weekend is Art-A-Whirl in my lovely extended neighborhood. In addition to Art-A-Whirl, we’ve got Johnstock up at 29th and Johnson.

We are two days into it, and I haven’t been to a single event.

Driving home from the grocery store where I needed to get some goat milk to make some kefir before my grains spoil, I thought about how Art-A-Whirl might be to well people, like my daily life is to me.

There are 500+ open studios/galleries involved in Art-a-whirl. There is a trolley that runs throughout the neighborhood. There is live music. Aerial performances. Lots of stuff for the kids. Johnstock held a talent show today. Business is booming all over the ‘hood.

So, with all of these choices, a well person needs to put on their thinking cap, harness their intuition or get ready with the coin flipping. You can’t possibly see it all in one weekend, so you have to choose. Limit. Know what is absolutely essential and what can wait until next month, next year, next life time.

My life is like Art-a-whirl.

I dread events like this. Events that my kids know are happening, but they don’t have a mom or a dad that have enough energy to take them. They want to go. They want to do lots of things. But, they haven’t learned how to put boundaries on their lives like I have. My husband hasn’t, either.

It is the single fastest thing you have to learn. One thing. I can do one thing a day. And, most the time, I have to save up for a big thing. Like today. I really wanted to see Live Action Set’s The Happy Show. I love the idea of interactive theater, and I’m working on my own play that has a similar concept. I wanted to be inspired. And, I wanted to take my little guy.

I didn’t teach this week, so I rested on Thursday afternoon, Friday after PT, and today, I went. My little guy was amazed. Live theater. I can’t believe how LITTLE live theater or dance he has seen in his 5 1/2 years. With the big one, we went all the time. He saw film, theater, dance, went to gallery openings. We did it all.

With the little one, we do very little. But, he is sick, too. And that awareness is always there, even if we hope for more.

500 galleries. Choices. How do you decide? What if you had to make choices like this every day? What if you had to choose between your own creative life and getting dressed? What if you had to choose between working on your novel that is gathering dust on your harddrive, or delivering plants from the choir fundraiser for your son? What if you had to choose between going to the park with your kids or making dinner? Choose between being intimate with your partner or going to Physical therapy? Walking the dog or cleaning the bathroom?

This is the reality for people with chronic illnesses like Lyme Disease. One thing. That’s it. Break that one thing into a few tiny things, maybe. But that is reality.

I remember posting on facebook over a year ago something like this — “If you only had 4 good hours out of a 24 period, what would you use them for?”

That was before treatment got really heavy. This was before the kids were treating hard. This was before I realized how much of an island we would need to be. This was before my husband got diagnosed. This was before the 4 hours turned into 2 or less.

Reality is — my life is like Art-a-Whirl. I can’t do it all. So, let me ask you: Which things do you choose? I don’t want to know what you think I should choose, because then I’m asking you to go into judgment mode. . and I’ve had an abundance of that lately. I’m asking what YOU would do. What would you give up if suddenly YOU were faced with a energy sucking illness? What is important enough to keep and what could you let go?


3 responses to “My Life as Art-A-Whirl

  1. The Glamorous Life

    Between fatigue, depression, and ADHD whatever gets done is a huge gift.

  2. If I had 4 hours of no sign of disease, etc. I would EXERCISE!!!! I’d play basketball, run, shot, and love every minute of it! Then I would go inline skating for the other 2 hours!

  3. I’d keep: Exercise and stretching (at least some), eating as well as I could manage, a little time with my intimate(s) (currently furry and 14 lbs.), a little email (sibs, close friends), as much sunshine as I could get, occasional events with my most-loved community(s). What am I forgetting?

    I’d give up: career/life advancement, casual socializing, most community activities, most Web browsing, canoeing and camping, reading for pleasure, staying really fit, dancing (but maybe not completely!), travel, most movies, concerts, arts stuff, XC skiing, bicycling, … oof da.

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