July 25 marked the 11th month out from my stroke. I can’t help but think ahead. I know the one-year marker is on the horizon. What a milestone! One-year celebrations have a special energy. Could be a Yeah!, or At last!, or Yahoo! Or – Is this great or what?!!!!

And yet I’ve felt that energy on the 25th of the last four, maybe five, months. And it’s a superb  feeling. This 11th month holds a softening of anxiety and confusion. 

My first thought every morning is not, “Whew, I made it to another day.” I sometimes get past exercising, showering, dressed, breakfast, maybe even having that second cup of coffee before I go to the jewelry tray. I do like to accessorize.

And there I see my Stroke Survivor bracelet, which is as much an every day piece of jewelry as my wedding ring. (Thank you, Stroke Resource Center of S. Arizona Support Group)

Every day, every hour offers choices of what to do and how to respond to reactive issues that can occur (sudden fatigue, strong emotions, surprise noises, changes in plans). I’ve gotten lots better at slowing down so I can give myself time to see which response path to take that is the most positive. I have an understanding support team (you know who you are) to help me when I need reminders. 

My daily container of energy and stamina no longer holds room for meeting a friend for breakfast after a recovery work-out, going shopping, reading, researching and writing a blog, calling my sis, a Zoom with my meditation and/or writing group, and a walk at Agua Caliente Park with Hank. (Okay, I’m exaggerating). But many of my non-stroke colleagues in this eighth decade of living tell me they’ve “downsized” activities too. 

My days are as easy as I choose to see them. Responding to unpredictable “wobblies” means certain steps that work for me-stop, grab something for balance, sit or rest, breathe, rest, rest, rest, distract from overthinking, aka worrying about physical quirks. 

Self-talk: There is no percentage of return in worrying. I am a very fortunate person. 

Life is Good. Dive in.

Ethel Lee-Miller blogs regularly about people, the power of words, and her writing life. She’s retired from professional writing gigs after 30 years of teaching, coaching, editing, and gathering writers to publicly share their work. She is the author of Thinking of Miller Place, and Seedlings, Stories of Relationships. In retirement she writes to inspire, to connect with folks, and for the pure enjoyment of it. Ethel enjoys sharing stories at Odyssey Storytelling, Zoom gatherings, and anywhere there’s a mic or a Zoom room.