We’ve all had big plans that haven’t gone as pictured.
This weekend, I had a continuing education conference. I need to have 20 hours of continuing education a year to keep my DVM license. I was looking forward to learning some new information and meeting some old friends. I made sure to take all my normal precautions. I wore comfortable shoes and warm cloths. I brought my wheeley bag and plenty of snacks and a big water bottle. The first day of the conference went well. The chairs were fairly comfortable and I didn’t push it. The second day was a different story.
I didn’t sleep well the night before and the first lecture was boring. The second lecture was very popular and I ended up sitting on the floor as no seats were available. It was difficult to focus on the lecture as I kept having to adjust and my legs kept falling asleep. By the end of the hour, I was stiff and in pain. “Well Crap.”
I pushed through the rest of the day making sure that I was in a lecture with a comfortable seat. Unfortunately, that meant I had to spend an hour listening about the regulations of interstate fish transportation. By the end of the day, I was looking forward to my couch and the heating pad. My friends had other plans.
As most adults that are trying to relive their college days do, the group wanted to go out to drink and mingle. The thought frightened me. I had already reached my limit and I had to say no. Of course, the group was disappointed and some made fun of me for going home early. I was sad that I couldn’t participate but I knew that it was for the best.
The next day was the hardest (for everyone involved). My friends came in hungover realizing that they couldn’t drink like they used to in their college days. Photos were shared on Facebook and stories of the night before were rehashed. The stories were hilarious and a surprising thing happened, I had found acceptance. I don’t feel like I missed an awesome night because my friends had included me in those memories. I feel thankful for the good laugh and that my body doesn’t feel horrible from staying out late.
I know how difficult it can be to say no. I really wish things could be different for all of us but we have to listen to our bodies and focus on our health. Below I have compiled a few tips to survive social gatherings with friends while not feeling left out.
Tips for not feeling left out
1. Be open with your friends.
Be honest and tell them that you are not feeling well enough to go out. Take the time to explain the spoon theory to them. Explain that you feel bad for not joining them but you will feel worse tomorrow if you over do it.
2. Accept that this is the new normal.
I think the best thing we can do is accept our new life. Just like how my friends have to accept that they are not in their 20’s anymore, we must accept that our lives have limits. Our life is not over, just different and we can find new way to experience joy.
3. Suggest alternatives.
Perhaps invite everyone over for a board game at 3pm on a Sunday. Maybe a matinee movie or painting class (with wine). There are plenty of options available that are spoonie friendly.
4. Cherish the memories that you do make.
Memories are a powerful reminder of how important life is. Every time I am feeling depressed, I open a photo album and look at all the fun times that my husband and I have created and I think about all the opportunities that lay ahead. I long run I am not going to remember one night that I could have gone out. However, this weekend, I will remember the laughs, the embrace of good friends and the decadent chocolate cake that I ate for lunch. Mmmm…Cake.