Let’s start with massage: I made myself a promise at the start of 2018 to do better at taking care of myself—my physical and mental health—and I went and signed up for a membership at Hand & Stone (one of several large chains that offers monthly memberships—I picked this one because it was closest to my house). When I did it, I felt like I was being extravagant. Like, perhaps, I wasn’t worth it. Even though I knew for a fact that massage really helps with my fibromyalgia, and can lower my stress levels, thereby benefiting both the fibro and my rheumatoid arthritis.
I promised myself I’d just try it for six months and then see what I wanted to do . . . and here I am, something like 16 months later. Today I paid extra for a CBD oil massage and I swear I’ve never felt so relaxed. Even the usual massage helps, though—it reduces the number of adhesions I have (basically scar tissue on my muscle fascia) and helps to release many of the knots that develop pretty much everywhere. As a result, I can turn my head further to each side, stretch my arms over my head on occasion, and more. Some of these things have improved over time, month by month, as I go for massages regularly. And some of my symptoms have at least not gotten any worse.
One of the other differences between January of 2018 and today, though, has been a shift in my thinking. I understand that massage isn’t free. And while it’s not super expensive at about $60 per month, it’s definitely something that still counts as a luxury. Because Merriam-Webster defines luxury as a condition of abundance or great ease and comfort. To which I say HELL YEAH, a massage is a luxury. It is also, now, for me, not something I’m unworthy of; it has become instead one of my necessities. Because the age of 55, I have started to embrace the idea that I deserve to live with grace and ease.
Let me digress and back up for a minute: Over the years, I’ve been certain that I needed to work hard, and work a lot, and struggle. I needed to hustle, to prove myself, to try to keep up with others, to make a mark. And I suppose I partly did that — put myself through college and law school, had a job as a lawyer and a house and two kids and a dog and a cat. I did all the cooking and cleaning, all the mowing and landscaping, all the sewing of Halloween costumes, scrambling like a hamster in a wheel, and in the end, I got sick with one, and then two, autoimmune conditions.
I couldn’t work a full-time job anymore, so rather than do nothing, I embarked on a writing career. And there was a time when my network was amazing, you guys, and my blog was one of the top-read blogs in children’s literature. And then stuff happened (my now ex got cancer, and then got better, and then we eventually got divorced), and it all sort of slipped away when I wasn’t looking. Then I met my wonderful Morris and fell in love and started to pay more attention to energy—not just “how much energy do I have today?” but also to the idea of qi energy and feng shui and reiki and more, and started to see that there might be ways of living that were more “in flow.”
This is partly why I decided to purchase the local honey from Mystical Blossoms, a local herbology business run by sisters Jody and Michaline—it’s from local bees, raised in a sustainable manner, with lavender oil added to it, and reiki done during the process. This honey is admittedly more expensive than a similar sized jar of mass-produced honey of indistinct origin at the grocery store. I also require less than half the amount of this honey to sweeten my tea, and the taste is amazing. I get the added benefit of supporting a local, woman-owned business (and if you’ve been around here for a while, you know I love being able to support local businesses and woman-owned businesses, so this is dear to my heart), some delicious tea, and the added benefit of feeling like my afternoon cup of tea is a true luxury. (The mug was a gift from my daughter Sara, and was purchased by her from a woman-owned local-to-Charleston business at the Farmer’s Market, and I LOVE IT.)
And as for Global Entry . . . well, it costs $100. And I know that I don’t “need” it in order to travel home from other countries, though it does include TSA pre-check, so it doubles as a help for domestic travel as well. But my sweetheart and I have at least two trips planned in the next two years, and the idea of not having to stand in the customs line for close to an hour (as we did the last two times we re-entered the US) appeals strongly to me. Especially since air travel usually causes my joints to become super painful (something to do with the combo of RA and pressurized cabins), so long periods of standing immediately after deplaning can be debilitating. And as I said earlier, I’m working toward embracing the idea that I deserve to live with grace and ease.
And I believe that you deserve that, too.