You might be wondering what has been taking all the time with putting the edition of Judy and the Jacaranda together. Most days I’ve been spending one or two hours tearing and cutting pages. I’ve found that is as much as my neck will tolerate, any more and my shoulder muscles tense up too much and I don’t recover for the next day’s work. This, despite dusting off my best skills as an occupational therapist, and setting up things as ergonomically as possible. I guess some limitations are real. The activity is quite meditative, and it has given me a chance to do some thinking.
Last month I wrote about what makes me happy, and that little question prompted a lot of reflection. The two things I have always admired in other people are a sense of peace, and an ability to live in a balanced way. And since my twenties, I have aspired and worked to develop those characteristics in myself.
I guess, for me, the balance is key to the peace. The need for balance between work, rest and play is a founding assumption of occupational therapy, and I do believe in it. I’ve always thought that I became an OT because its philosophy was mine, rather than the professional training altering the way I thought.
When you have CFS, balance becomes even more tricky to achieve. But when I look around my friends, juggling work, children, home, aging parents…well it seems their situation is hardly much easier. I wonder what the balance is like in your life? How have you managed to get things working for you? I’d love to learn from your experience.
Anyway, things are a little easier in my life now. For the first time, I have a pretty clear schedule. I spent from 2004-2008 doing my masters, and from 2005- 2009 looking after my frail mother, but now I am free to build my life and my routine in a way that really suits me, according to my strengths, weaknesses, needs and desires.
This re-assessment is going to be wide-reaching. It will incorporate what I do, when I do it and how I do it, and it will be an holistic look at how I work, rest and play. Finally, at forty-whatever, I feel as if I can be me.
It may seem odd, to be talking in this way when there is no change in my health or energy, but I feel that is a limitation or perhaps better, an attribute that lies within me, like not being great at maths or something. In November, CFS will have been part of my life for 20 years, so for me, it just is. It goes in the weakness column and I just work around and with it.
So a Twenty Year Review it is, and the point is, I’m thinking very differently now – so watch this space!