Here we are, at the end of another amazing and busy year! I have become increasingly slack at updating this blog, and I’m sure each post starts with an apology!! So once again, sorry for the delay in writing!
I have many musings swamping my brain again, and there’s so much to update on! I figured a joint festive period/reflection of the last 3 months of 2016 is a good start, with hope that in the new year I will post more frequently again so each post is not quite as overwhelming/random! Below are the top lessons that I’ve learned these past few months, that I’d like to take with me into the new year
1. How to pace my life
Now I know the next few paragraphs of me explaining what we’ve been doing may not seem that I’ve put this into play, but all good things take time… and I am slowly getting it.
The concept of pacing was introduced to me whilst I was on a rehab course, where I spent 3 weeks as an inpatient at the Royal National Orthopedic hospital. As well as intensive physio and occupational therapy, we also partook in educational classes and psycho therapy, which taught a lot about pacing life. For me, the very concept of pacing (which for me is to slow down) is a very hard one. We learned that even on a good day, you shouldn’t over exert yourself, as this can result in the next day being a not good day. Anyone who knows me relatively well knows that on a good day I definitely jam pack everything I humanly can, which results in many negative consequences such as dislocations, nasty falls, or exhaustion.
We also learnt about fatigue management, however, since coming out of rehab I’ve become increasingly fatigued, even with a new bed time routine and less random napping. A couple of days ago I got a test result saying that I literally have no stores of vitamin D… I know many of you kiwis will laugh and say it’s because there’s no sun in the U.K. But it’s not normal to be this low, especially because I’m not black, overweight or elderly! It explains why I’ve been catching every bug that’s going around (it’s killed my immune system) and why my muscles are weaker (with subsequent frequent dislocations)! Hopefully my high dose Vit D for the next 6 weeks will mean I resume my normal bounce!
2. If all else fails, laughter is the best medicine
Again, another lesson from rehab! I wanted to add this is to give a special shout out to all the people I met on the programme, you all taught me so much about working hard through pain and remembering to laugh. Only at rehab would it be acceptable for 2 shoulder dislocations to take place over passing a fork!!
Our psychologist showed us a study that says even fake laughter can help reduce pain, so to all those people who think they can’t laugh you either need to 1) just hang with me for a day (which will inevitably make you laugh at my clumsiness/stupidity) or 2) FAKE IT TIL YOU MAKE IT!
3. Don’t dim your sparkle for anyone
You’d think after reading my first ever blog that I’d have grasped not letting what other people think control my life. However, I’m definitely still learning that no matter what, it is likely that there will always be other insecure people in your life, and not to dim your sparkle to make them feel better.
This year I repeatedly tried to dim down my love for people, and stopped sharing my good news because of claims that I was rubbing it in people’s faces. At the same time, I’ve received worried messages, asking why I haven’t posted, or why I’ve become “removed” or “distant.” The last few months have given me time to realize that I have been afraid to be the best version of myself, in fear that someone is comparing themselves to me, or trying to prove my life is not all peachy, so they wouldn’t be jealous. In doing so, I’ve started to share far too much of the negative things, which has made me feel down and in a stuck place.
I’ve come to the conclusion now though*, that we don’t always have control over these situations, and the only thing we can do is just pray that one day those people who compare themselves to you, stop doing so. Realistically, there’s always going to be struggles in our lives, especially when living with an invisible chronic illness. In 2017 I’m hoping that those close to me will have insight to both the lows and the highs, yet I hope I feel that I do not need to hide the highs to make others feel better. I’m hoping that the New year will see a new, confident me, knowing I have the best family and friends supporting me.
4. Mini cruising is fun for the young too!
A mega high of the last few months is mine and Elliot’s birthday cruise! Although we were the only people under 40 on our ship (minus 2 families) we had such a grand time, and it was amazing to be able to relax, sleep, eat and explore. We went to Amsterdam and Antwerp, both cities were fantastic! We also had the opportunity to go to Brussels, and the Christmas spirit there was certainly alive! Elliot faced his fear of heights once again to go on a Ferris wheel ride, and the stunning views were definitely a highlight! So if any of you love exploring, eating and drinking, I definitely recommend a mini cruise – even if you are the youngest on the ship!!
5. You can always have a party
I love this festive period as Elliot and I both have our birthdays, plus we get to go to Christmas parties, and celebrate Christmas with our wonderful English familia! I definitely would like to say thank you to everyone who’s made this month amazing by coming to celebrate with us, we love you all!
6. A good Christmas jumper is a necessity
Everyone needs a good Christmas jumper, it quickly spreads cheer, makes people laugh, and reminds you to have fun! No further comment is needed.
So there you have it. 6 random lessons, all of which have come up in the last few months. Thank you to everyone on here for journeying through another year with me, and encouraging me to keep writing! I hope everyone is able to also reflect on their year, and take on board any lessons you may have learnt, to make 2017 one of the best years yet.
Until next year,
*NB- I did not come to this conclusion alone! A good friend Gwen posted about this a while ago, and she is so on point! I’m totally thankful for such good friends in my life with fantastic insight.