Level-Up: Part 29
Every Sunday I record my health achievements and discoveries for the week here. To find out why I decided to start doing this, you can read an explanation in the first post of the series here.
In my video last week I said that it seemed strange to want a very ordinary life. Given some of the global adventures I so passionately pursued during my 20s, it seems doubly odd to lust after stability and normality; to actually crave what most people would consider boring and everyday. As you get older it becomes much clearer that the things you need to feel content are sometimes different to what you thought you wanted. Illness, for me, brought those things into even crisper focus. And for all that my disability has stolen along the way, it’s also taught me so much about myself that I can’t possibly hate it for too long.
The thing about having an illness that has limited me and boiled my life down to something very different to what it used to be is that it forces you to find pleasure in the small things. It makes you more appreciative when things actually go well for you. You take nothing and nobody for granted. This was, as I’m sure you can tell by now, a very reflective week.
Nothing spectacular happened this week. There was no specific achievement to hang my hat on. There were the usual physical and emotional peaks and troughs, alternating between total frustration and random contentment. That’s my normal at the moment. Not necessarily the normal I’d choose given the choice, but it’s what come Sunday counts as reliably average.
Toward the end of this week I thought a lot about how much more I can do now compared to this time last year. It’s easy to forget when you’re trying hard to stay in the moment. For Twitter’s Throwback Thursday hashtag I posted this picture.
It was one of the first short walks I took by myself last summer. I remember vividly how difficult each step was. I was incredibly proud of that walk. Far prouder than I let on at the time. Now it seems like such a short distance. It’s not so much that my symptoms have changed. They’re much the same and I can just as easily fall over now as I could then. It’s just that I’m now so determined to push myself and so intent on not being a victim of something I don’t want to control me that I make myself do as much as I can manage. Sometimes I both figuratively and literally get the balance wrong, but there are plenty of milestones too.
Yesterday I filled my fourth Coffee No1 loyalty card since starting to collect stamps about six months ago.
That’s 40 walks. 40 WALKS! That number has stunned me slightly. Especially as yesterday I was convinced it was just 30. Coming from a place where I could do almost nothing to being able to complete pretty much anything 40 times over seems crazy. It also sounds kind of ordinary. I like ordinary. I can’t do anything close to what I wish I could at the moment, but the fact that on a better day I can complete that walk gives me hope that I’ll be much further along in another year’s time. If my body and wobbly brain allow, I think I might start making my way toward 50 tomorrow. Half a century’s worth of coffee sounds good.