Posted in after the diagnosis, coping with chronic illness, coping with life threatening illness, living with chronic illness, Living with Illness

What’s Passing You By?

I go to a lot of art events; gallery openings, museum exhibits, and artist talks.  I had attended the opening of a painter whose colors I liked but I wasn’t getting the collection.  I decided to go to the artist talk to get a clearer understanding of the work figuring who better than the artist to explain her intent.

The artist took us around the gallery showing the paintings and then she pulled out her sketchbook.  She showed the audience the numerous sketches of potential ideas and paintings for future work.  An audience member then asked her what was her inspiration.  She explained that she didn’t have a car and she would ride the bus for hours a day sketching what she saw.  BINGO!  Once she unlocked the code the paintings all became clearer.  There was a slant to her landscapes because she was sketching them as she was passing them in a moving vehicle.

As I think about her work today, I’m wondering what in your life has that slant because you’re allowing things to pass you?   Following the diagnosis of a chronic or other life-altering illness puts you in the fast lane.  You’re often sucked into a world with a schedule that is overwhelming, at first, and it’s easy to see how things could pass you by, when you’re simply trying to keep up.

The artist used the idea of passing by as a theme, and it’s a great theme for art, but if you rely on that same thing in your life, what are you missing?  How is your quality of life impacted by sitting on the bus and letting things pass you by?  What’s the solution?  Involvement.  Be involved in your life.

If you’re involved in your life your quality of life increases and you have much less of a chance of being subjected to victim thinking.  It’s common when people retire for them to become depressed because their work was their identity and their purpose.  Perhaps they didn’t have any hobbies, interests, and limited friends.  If you find yourself with a lot of time on your hands, especially if you’ve gone out on disability, you need to fill that time, but not with just anything, but with those things that make you smile, make you laugh, and remind you that you’ve still got an important life to live.


I've lived my life in service to others. I'm focused on mental health and how it impacts our relationships, culture, and society. Through creative expression and narrative I believe we can impact change.

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