So far my 30′s have came with many challenges I have never faced before. Though I had many life changing things happen to me during my 20′s, none of them compare with what has taken place in the first four years of my 30′s. Quickly, I will list those things:
- My wife and I had 3 children (in 3 years)
- We had 2 serious hospital stays and surgeries with my oldest son
- I moved out of my home office into a 630 sqft. office
- I moved from that small office into a 4200 sqft. office
- I hired several employees
- Had one of them move and had to let a couple of others go
- Took some family vacations
My 20′s were not easy on me physically or emotionally. There was a lot of stress I endured and some crazy life situations I had to deal with which I won’t get into here. My mind and body seemed to absorb those difficult and stressful times and I moved on. What I did not realize is that stress like that does it’s damage and sometimes that damage does not show until later on.
Now that I am in my 30′s and have had some big life changes, that damage has started to show. Though having children and expanding your business are great things to have happen in your life, they are also stressful in their own ways. It has also been recently that I have even been able to associate hardships in life with stress. Though I feel I do a good job of dealing with stress compared to others, I realize that stress still affects my body.
It seems like directly after we had our first child I started experiencing symptoms that have required me to watch what I eat, how much sleep I get and how active I am during any given day. These are things that I did not have to pay much attention to during my 20′s. For the last few years I have been battling what my doctors diagnose as an acid reflux problem. I have tried several medications prescribed by my doctor which have not helped. I have also had multiple tests ran that confirm that I have minor acid reflux, but what I experience is much more than minor acid reflux.
In an attempt to figure it out on my own I decided to strip anything from my diet that could be producing an allergic reaction. I basically just ate plants and plant based foods for almost an entire year. Though I felt healthier and cleaner, it did nothing for my symptoms I was experiencing.
Dealing with a medical issue is emotional in it’s own way. When Doctors tell you that it is something simple that should be easy to clear up with medication, you want to believe what they say. I spent just about a year on meds and tried their suggestions and found nothing to help. I have spent countless hours online trying to find others discussing issues similar to mine and have yet to find anything.
I am tired of feeling like garbage in the evenings when my kids want to play with me after a day of me being away. They want me to chase them and all I can think about is acid making it’s way up my throat. I’m done with worrying about that.
A Change In Mindset
I have told myself many times before this week that I am not going to let this affect me mentally any longer, but I always end up letting it get me down. I have done my best to keep up with my kids and not allow myself to ignore their needs or the needs of my wife because I don’t feel well, but I can do better. I also have my own needs which are to stay happy and healthy. It is hard to ignore something that is bothering you physically, but it is time that I start doing just that. I am not going to be ignore the problem, because I don’t want it to turn into something worse, but I will not let it bother me any longer. I feel like I can somewhat responsibly ignore the issue because I have had every test short of surgery ran on me and all have reported back with “minor acid reflux.”
I am going to cut back in some areas to make more time for others. I do my best to only work 8-5 hours. I don’t rush out of the house each morning as I like to see my kids before I leave as often as possible. I rush home after work so I can spend time with my kids before they go to bed and time with my wife before we go to bed. That has not left time for me to make it to the gym or do much else, so I am going to cut back in some areas on work to make time for that. I know that I won’t be able to do this every day and sometimes I may have to put in full days to keep up with my work, but I will make every effort to get to the gym.
I have also scheduled a lot less on the weekends this year than I have in the past. Though I love photographing weddings and events, they take a lot of time away from my family that I can not get back. My kids are very young and don’t have anything they want to do other than have me around. Money is important, but it is not as important as time.
Work and my achievements used to be the driving force pushing me forward. Now I find them as challenges that allow me more freedom to spend time with my family. The ongoing challenge is to find better ways to work that allow me even more freedom than before. I love being able to take off for a week or two with my family and get a little bit of work done while my kids are napping. I truly have an extraordinary life and should not allow anything to slow it down for long.
Challenges that come with parenting have been hard but I feel like most of them have ended up being more stressful than they should have been because I was not feeling up to par due to my digestive issues. When you are in the hospital with your child who is dealing with something that could be pretty serious, you don’t have time to think about your own issues or problems. What is hard about that is that they seem to just boil up and then become even more of a problem later. I feel like this was the case with the two major times I was in the hospital with my oldest son and when my Mother was in the hospital with heart issues.
Though it will be hard, I am not going to allow any of these physical issues I am experiencing to mess with me emotionally any longer. I want my mental strength to be readily available for my family. Life moves fast and can get tough at times. We all deal with that. As I write this, I can feel the acid in my lower esophagus starting to bother me but I am not going to allow that to change me mentally or mess with my focus. Stress and these medical issues have lost their hold on me. God gives me strength to do so many things and endure so much. Why would God give me the strength to do so much and allow me to be held back by something like acid reflux and bloating? I can get past this.