At the start of the year I set myself a challenge of blogging each month about my efforts to be more balanced. I had big plans for 2017 – exciting ideas and goals to push myself, both personally and professionally. Well, best laid plans, eh?
There hasn’t been much balance in February. On the first day of the month I was discharged from hospital. Since then, there’s been a lot of rest and recuperation, a lot of anxiety and despair, and very little else. I’ve watched a lot of Parks and Recreation, I’ve devoured all three seasons of Transparent on Amazon Prime (thank you Sarah for the recommendation), and I’ve got steadily fatter on a diet of takeaways and comfort food while spending 20 hours a day in bed.
I’ve struggled with not being able to take comfort in the things that usually give me comfort. For the first half of the month I couldn’t hold a pen to handwrite. I haven’t been able to keep up with work or reading as much as I’d hoped. I read and loved , the third in Holly Bourne’s Spinster Club trilogy, and I belatedly made a start on A Quiet Life – the debut novel of my wonderful colleague Natasha Walter, which I’ve been meaning to read since I bought a signed copy on publication day, back in June. But sitting up for more than a couple of hours at a time is painful, and I can’t even relax into a hot bubbly bath – much less go for a facial, or a massage.
I’ve been forced to listen to my body in ways I never really expected, I’ve had far too much time to think, and I’ve been endlessly frustrated by the feeling that my life is on hold. Instead of enjoying my final two months at Women for Refugee Women, I’ll have spent them signed off. Today I missed the National Refugee Women’s Conference, and the launch of WRW’s latest report, which I’d been so excited to be a part of. I’ll have lost a quarter of the year by the time I’m free of the cast and the neck brace. I’ll have lost almost half of it by the time I’m free of pain and able to get, physically at least, ‘back to normal’. And then there’s the enormity of wrapping my head around what’s happened. Who knows how long that will take, and if words will be enough this time.
I have though been blessed with lots of love and support – in the form of flowers, chocolates, books, care packages, messages, hugs, meals, so many cups of tea, and help around the flat. I’m so grateful for the support and patience of my friends, family, and clients – and to my friends at Well Spirited PR, The Happy Tummy Company, and Distraction Box for their generosity. I’ve been emailing the wisest person I know, my dad, whose handwritten letters have always got me through tough times in the past. In one of those emails he reminded me of this quote, from the single greatest Christmas film of all time:
Remember, no [wo]man is a failure who has friends
It’s never rung more true than during this month, when I’ve teetered so close to the edge of my own metaphorical bridge, and yet been overwhelmed by so much kindness. Thank you all, and I’ll try to make March’s post less depressing…