3 KINDS OF LIFE: Brendan Burch
We choose one of three kinds of life. We can live the CAGED LIFE (that would be the Jessica holding the bottle of Arbor Mist fake wine during her darkest hours of chronic pain) trapped in our fears of bitterness, pain, victimhood, or sadness. We can live the COMFORTABLE LIFE (where I believe we all retreat to from time to time.) A better life for sure but often one of ease, boredom, or restlessness where days are ‘fine’ but not fulfilling. Or we can live the CHARGED LIFE (that would be the Jessica holding her daughter at the age of thirty three managing pain naturally and finding happiness despite pain.) An existence that is truly engaged, energized, and enthusiastic. It is defined by more presence, challenge, and growth. Which life we live is a matter of will and habit, of maturity, motivation, and consciousness.
I think this is one of the most fascinating, true explanations of how we choose to live our life: not our circumstances, our life. I fell off my bike and had brain surgery before I was fifteen. My chronic pain started at an age where I was not even mature enough to legally vote or drive. My brain, yes bleeding from within had not even fully developed. Researchers say that the human brain is not fully developed until humans are above the age of twenty. During the teen years, the brain has a very difficult time understanding consequences: hence why I was not wearing a helmet the day of my fall. The final part of our brain to develop is called the frontal lobe and that is the part of the brain where we begin to understand that our actions have consequences. Just another reason my three year old and future children are screwed because I made so many mistakes in high school and I now know it is up to me to teach them consequence or the police but I prefer it to be us: their parents (laugh, I’m not totally serious.) My chronic pain was at its worst during the ages between seventeen and twenty one. I was twenty-one when I did hit a huge rock bottom when I just began giving up on life: as seen above. That is not the true Jessica: that is the Jessica in so much pain like so many of you, I was almost forced to live the CAGED LIFE: I knew nothing else. I will never say I am proud of some of my actions during this time because I caused my dad a lot of worry and pain but if I went back in time I would have done the same thing UNLESS I had the knowledge I do have now. Part of the reason I will never judge another person is because I would be the biggest hypr0crite to ever walk the Earth. None of us are here to judge: we have all spent some time in this CAGED life and no one is perfect: chronic pain or no chronic pain.
I feel like I go in and out of the COMFORTABLE life even now. To say that I am happy and enthusiastic and filled with energy and joy twenty four seven would be a blatant lie. People without chronic pain rarely live the CHARGED life but add in a dose of chronic pain and anxiety and you are going to get a little comfy sometimes. I think that is okay. This is a ridiculous example but going through the IVF process has not been easy. Six days and we will know if I am pregnant this month or need to go for round two. I am a big believer in the Law of Attraction and I truly do believe I am pregnant now: either way I will be but back to the point. Turns out bed rest and Jessica do not get along. I was finally permitted to do light exercises yesterday and it brought me so much joy and happiness because I was not allowed to do so for a week. I was CHARGED and grateful and realized what a gift it is to be able to exercise, walk, move: a privilege denied to many.
Life is about stages: CAGED, COMFORTABLE, and CHARGED. I do not think you stay in one stage: I believe you jump around but the goal is to feel as good as you possibly can and no one deserves to live a CAGED life despite chronic pain. You don’t have to, I promise. I lived in that cage for far too long and I am now in between comfortable and charged. I’m okay with that. You are not alone and wherever your life is at this moment is okay, easy for me to say right? No, it isn’t easy because I know far too well how so many of you feel but I just want you to know it gets better. You are further along in this journey than you believe.