Tuesday, November 19, 2013

A return to blogging

Hello and welcome back to my blog!

Thanks for coming back and for being so patient during the four months since my last post.

I think the blog break has been good for me and it has been nice to be free of obligation for a while. That said, I really miss the contact with everyone and I'm hoping to get back to a more regular routine of posting now.

Despite being four months since I last wrote, the work on our unit is still underway. It has started so that's great, but it's been more complicated than expected. Hence the repairs are going to cost more, and we're still living under the same conditions as we have been since February.

Brighton Pavillion

We made the decision to take ourselves out of this environment for a while and so in August, we headed overseas. We spent a month in Brighton in the south of England and one week in Paris. We chose Brighton because it gave us a seaside holiday surrounded by history in a very arty town, without the challenge of managing a foreign language. It's also only 50 minutes by train to London. The holiday worked well for us, and we came back feeling much brighter and with more energy, which is just as well, because as I said, things haven't gone entirely smoothly with the work.

Over the past months, I've also put some energy into trying to understand how I need to pace myself in order to conserve my energy. I've learnt that it's important to build up energy before I spend it, rather than being active first, letting myself become exhausted and then having to rest up and recover. That process takes a lot longer to return to zero, than if I rest before and build a reserve of energy to use. Of course this requires certain amount of planning, a certain amount of knowing what is coming up, and life doesn't always give you that warning, but where possible that's the way I'm trying to organise myself.

Beachy Head - famous "jumping off" spot in Quadrophenia

Also, using a few different assessment mechanisms I've worked out that my energy is about 25% of what might be thought of as "normal". That may seem depressing or disheartening, but in other ways it has been very freeing. Information is power, and just having that 25% figure in my head allows me to be a lot more realistic about what I can expect of myself. It allows me to rest pre-emptively and not feel guilty, which believe it or not isn't something I've really been very able to do before. I've always felt that I have to keep going until I feel exhausted and then, and only then, was it okay to stop and rest. Now I know that that's not the case.

Bex Hill

I think the other thing that it has allowed me to do is to be pretty ruthless when it comes to prioritising, and it's been a bit of a surprise to realise that I hadn't already been being ruthless in this. I have been prioritising for many, many years obviously as you have to when have a chronic  illness but now I am really getting down to that one or two, or maybe three things, that are absolutely essential and give me the most pleasure. Those are the things that I can and will choose to spend my time doing. 

For that reason, I have to say that I probably won't be blogging at the rate that I have been in the past. I've been thinking that perhaps it'll be more of a monthly update, with maybe a smaller post  in between that's mostly images if I'm being productive. I really hope that you'll understand this and that you won't feel let down, or that the blog is diminished by this. I considered actually stopping blogging all together, but I realised that I have made so many great friendships through my blog and that the exchange benefits from being mutual. I could just visit your blogs but sharing something of myself allows you to come and visit here as well and helps the relationship to develop greater depth. 

Book sculptures used in a window display in a clothes shop in Paris

I'm very happy to report that since I returned from overseas I have started being creative again. I've been finishing off some projects that stalled about 12 months ago, so I'll be sharing them in the next couple of posts, and I've also got some things to share with you from the trip overseas. I met up with a book artist in Brighton which was very exciting and saw some great stuff in London, so that's coming up in this space very soon.