Before I turned 21, I could count on one hand the number of cups of hot tea I'd tried. Three, maybe four, definitely no more than five. I just didn't like it. The Earl Greys and the fruity blends didn't do a thing for me, and it was anything but enjoyable to sip a cup of what I thought was just colored water.
Since then, however, I've become quite the hot tea drinker, pouring myself 3-4 cups of hot tea a week, particularly during the winter months, and especially if I'm feeling a little under the weather. In fact - during a flare, I estimate drinking 3-4 cups of hot tea a day. I guess I've changed my tune, huh?
It definitely was an acquired taste for me. When I was younger, I promise you, I tasted absolutely nothing in those cups of tea, and I "felt" even less. It wasn't a calming or soothing experience in the least bit, and the tea nor its warmth made me want to savor the experience or repeat it anytime soon.
And yet, today - I don't want a cup of tea to end. It's such a relaxing, enjoyable routine for me, and one that I look forward to indulging in alone, or with a friend.
So how does that happen? How does our perspective change so dramatically? How does something that we genuinely despise turn into something that we sincerely enjoy? I suppose time and age have something to do with it, as well as this notion of an "acquired taste". I've evolved, and so have my likes and dislikes. So have my tolerances and intolerances.
When I was first diagnosed with lupus, I was absolutely intolerant of the changes I needed to make to accommodate the disease. Sleeping in the middle of the day, taking it slowly, watching my stress - those were all unacceptable to me. I despised the idea of ratcheting back - everything about it felt wrong, and it left a bad taste in my mouth, just like that Earl Grey. But once I started to experience the positive effects of accommodating the illness, and embracing the disease rather than fighting so hard against it, it actually wasn't the bitter experience I assumed it would be. It was a relief to have surges of energy again due to my increased sleeping habits. It was a joy to be able to go out on the weekends, albeit sparingly, because I'd learned to take it slow during the week. It got easier to ask for and accept help, manage my symptoms, and set my boundaries so that I was no longer struggling through each day. Life got a whole lot more enjoyable...and I began to "like" living again.
So here's to the acquired taste of living with lupus. You may not start out liking it, but eventually, I think you'll learn to do just fine, despite it.