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Finding Power in Cold Places: A Norwegian Commute and Navigating Through Chronic Illness

A silhouette of a woman bundled in winter clothes, holding a power bank, as she navigates a snowy Norwegian landscape.
Kaia Thonul, Wednesday, January 17, 2024, 08:30

Today, I find myself nestled snugly by the frost-kissed window of my regular morning commute, under skies that brim with the promise of more snow, leaving little space for sunlight. Cold air sneaks in from the edges of the window, adding a chill that makes me appreciate the comfortable warmth inside. Outside, it's -12°C – a stark reminder of the harsh Norwegian winter but a seemingly mere addition to my day-to-day battles with something less visible, less tangible but just as relentless – a chronic illness.

You would think it is hard dealing with a persistent ailment that whispers constant reminders of your mortality. The thing about living with chronic illness, however, is that it has its unique rhythm – a ghostily beautiful, daunting, and often isolating symphony woven into my everyday life.

It's the tedious melody of medication reminders, the orchestral rise and fall of good days and bad days, and the solo performance of trying not to burden the ones around you. It's a non-stop opera, played mostly in silent whispers, only heard by those who care to listen. And in my daily dance with this unique partner, I have understood that my strength is not determined by its ruthlessness but by my resilience against its relentless tune.

As my fingers tap against the keyboard, highlighting my day-to-day existence with an illness, I can't help but appreciate the vital role technology plays in making things a bit more bearable. Not just in managing my illness but it's also my reliable companion during my hour-long commute from the outskirts of Oslo to the university downtown.

Take my powerbank, for instance. It's more than just an accessory or a backup option. It's a hero in disguise – a metaphor for the extra energy that sometimes my body lacks. Powerbanks, in their simplicity, are a promise of continuity despite unplanned power outages, metaphorically and otherwise. Their ability to restore, replenish, and recharge in moments when one feels drained, mirrors my struggle and survival against chronic illness.

Reading about challenging driving conditions amid snowy weather in the inner regions of Østfold at Smaalenene THIS morning, I realize how universal the concept of resilience is. From people driving carefully through treacherously frosty paths, snowy landscapes still boasting their untamed beauty despite the harsh conditions, to my co-passengers bustling about their day; we all have been quietly adapting, surviving, and thriving in our ways.

Speaking of resilience and survival, the snow flurries might continue through most of the week, disrupting everyday life for many. As for me, my chronic illness might cast longer shadows on certain days. But would it deter me? Absolutely not. I guess, at the end of the day, it is all about staying charged, whether it's the powerbank or me.

Just like the snow-covered landscapes outside, there is a certain beauty in dealing with a chronic illness. It forces you to slow down, to assess, to appreciate the little things, and invest time in nourishing your body and soul. And for that, I am grateful, even on days like today when the mood is as crestfallen as the dove gray skies outside my frost-kissed train window.

Sure, it's a battle waged within my body, but it's also a battle I am winning every day – by living, by thriving, and by stubbornly refusing to give up, even under the coldest grey skies of winter. A powerbank might merely be a tool for survival in today's digital age. But for me, it's a reminder that even when things seem to be running out, backup power can always be found somewhere. Smiling, I click save, my newest blog post has been written... all while my trusty powerbank keeps my phone alive, my words flowing, just like the resilience within me.

Tags: chronic illness resilience living with illness

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