It’s almost the end of September. The mornings linger in darkness a little longer, the dew sparkles on the grass, the sun sets a little earlier, an evening chill pierces the dusk. The summer is behind us as we fall into autumn, and it has been a quiet month.
The summer was eventful and full of activity. Fall slipped in softly like shadows in twilight, as did Arthritis Awareness Month. I barely noticed its arrival. It’s amazing to me how fast this year is moving, to the relief of most of us. The year is more than halfway over, and it has been an eclectic blend of challenges, disappointments, tragedy, peace, exhilaration, and contentment. It’s also been one of the busiest years for my work and creative life.
For a pandemic year, it’s been one of the best for managing my life with RA. I’ve been more active this year. Working from home was challenging, but it provided more time for my own self care. I’ve done more walking, taking in the natural world around me and appreciating the beauty and climate of where I live. I abandoned public transit to walk to work, and I’m confident I will be able to maintain this routine over the winter. I’ve found the means to keep my artistic world alive with a few adjustments. I’ve learned to slow down, really enjoy my home life and all the little things we take for granted. I tried new recipes, cooked healthy meals, and enjoyed good wine on the patio as I watched the sun descend in a fiery glow over the ocean.
Arthritis Awareness Month seems to have crept by without much fanfare but the message is not lost, just merged into the immediate details of our daily lives – how we navigate our friends and family, how we work, how we play, how we relate and participate in this new world. As quiet as it has been, Arthritis Awareness Month has become more powerful in the upheaval of a new epidemic – it’s highlighted in the way we live and in the way we confront the challenges of living each day with a chronic condition. We don’t need to assign a month to raise awareness for arthritis – we raise it every day.
The autumn has already wrapped us in its vibrant embrace. My own fight with arthritis has mercifully faded into the eves of summer. I don’t know how long that reprieve will last, but I’m not thinking about that right now. Instead, I am living one day at a time, and looking forward to crisp fall mornings, cool starlit evenings, amber and yellow leaves, harvest moons, glowing pumpkins, crimson twilights, and the whisper of the wind promising a new season filled with hope and possibility.
Stay well everyone.
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J.G. Chayko is a writer, actress, and international arthritis advocate who’s been involved in theatre for more than 30 years and has published poetry, fiction, and creative non-fiction.