What am I doing with my life? Finding purpose despite chronic illness.

I constantly struggle with intrusive thoughts about what I am doing with my life. Did I choose the right major in college? Am I living in the right city? Have I made the right decisions? Is there something more I should be doing? As I have written about previously, comparison is the thief of joy. As a 24 year old who graduated from college 2 years ago, it is easy for me to look around at what others are doing in order to compare myself. However, all that ever does is hurt my own feelings. There is no rule book for life. We aren’t told what is going to happen, and we have no idea what the future holds. Chronic illness makes the roller coaster of life even more intense because it throws a wrench in our plans. Constantly having treatments, doctor’s appointments, and illnesses takes up a lot of time – which is time that I could be using to further other aspects of my life. For many, chronic illness has given us restrictions on where we can live, what we can do for work, and more. I have to take into account that I need my plasma treatments every two weeks, and that I am constantly fatigued and prone to illness and infections. Like many, I ask myself this question: “What am I doing with my life?” And then I remember – that is for me to figure out. I am in the driver’s seat. And I need to start asking myself, “What do I want to be doing with my life? How can I get there?” Don’t put pressure on yourself to have it all figured out. First of all, do not feel pressure to have everything figured out right now, especially after receiving a new diagnosis. My head was spinning when I found out that I had Common Variable Immunodeficiency and I would have to rely on SCIg for… probably forever. I wanted to make it better and understand what was going to happen. The reality is that it takes time. I didn’t magically wake up one day and realize everything was going to be fine. It took years of anxiety, depression, worrying, and staying up at night to figure out how to not only accept my disease but thrive with it. It has been almost 5 years since I was diagnosed. I am proud of myself for how far I’ve come. As the journey goes on, I want to continue to learn and grow. That’s why I’d love to share with you a few ways that I found purpose and meaning in my life. Find something that makes you feel excited and inspired. A person can have many passions. It may seem like passions should come easily, but sometimes you have to find them. I’ve had a hard time figuring out what my true interests are. I created aubreywithgrace.com about a year and a half ago. I have always loved to write, but I didn’t know how to utilize my love for writing in a way that was fun and enjoyable. In my first job out of college, I worked with clients that owned websites, and it inspired me to learn web design. I am pretty creative, so I also started designing graphics on Canva. Luckily, I was able to combine my love for writing, web design, graphic design, and sharing about chronic illness. They all came together to make this website, which has led to corresponding social media channels and several podcast appearances that I have done! I know it can be hard to figure out what makes you feel inspired. Maybe take some time to soul search and understand your strengths. Ask yourself, “What do I find fun? What makes me feel fulfilled?” Focus on what makes you unique. Every single person is special. You have a personality that is not duplicated anywhere in the world. What makes you different? It can be hard to know. Sometimes it is a special talent or a unique perspective. I suggest asking people in your life what they think makes you special. Once you find that thing, lean into it. You might make some mistakes or feel uncomfortable at first, but if you stick with it, you will find purpose and fulfillment. Don’t overthink it. It is so hard to stop overthinking. I still fall victim to the constant thoughts. My mind tells me that I am not good enough. That I should be doing something differently or that somehow I am behind in life. You have to stop these thoughts before they run rampant in your brain and become a constant void of negativity. Some days, I let overthinking ruin my day. When I finally feel positive again, I’m sad that I put myself through that. Whatever you are doing right now, you are exactly where you are supposed to be. Don’t let comparison or fear of judgement make you think differently. You deserve to follow your passions and find fulfillment. Don’t wait until tomorrow. Try new things. Experience life! There are so many amazing days ahead. You got this! Author Aubrey View all posts