Friday, 17 October 2014

Small things

A drizzly walk to a Dagenham corner shop isn't most people's idea of excitement. But when the Little One and I hung up our soggy coats and sat eating the spoils of our expedition on Monday afternoon, the sense of achievement I felt was huge. The ten minute round trip had taken us over half an hour, and to me, it was time well spent.

For the last two months I have been unable to walk much or drive, so we've been relying on friends and relatives to ferry us around during the day. But this week. I started to feel better. The pain and swelling in my hands and feet is easing, and I think even my mega-knee (twice the size of the other one) might be shrinking slightly. As well as my walking victory, I drove us to playgroup this morning. It felt so good!

I've said it before, but I'm going to make sure I relish every one of these little victories. There is so much pressure in our culture to be productive and achieve great things that we often forget to be thankful for the small things. In the past this pressure has led me to spend too much time trying to make sure I invest my time in 'big' things, things that will pay off in the future. I think lots of us live under a fearful belief that if we only relish small joys, we will become small people. Here's what I mean: when I was first diagnosed, I spent a lot of time planning all the big things I would do when I was better - travel, culture, career. I felt that I needed to make sure I'd ticked all these 'essential' boxes while I still could. After all, they're the things that make for an interesting and impressive person, right? 

I don't think so any more. As time has passed and these things have been less possible for me to engage with, they have also become less important. My last post talks a bit more about this process.

There's something giddying about the sense of freedom that comes with finally being able to do things for yourself. Hoovering, baking, shopping. The mundane comes to life in glorious everyday experiences. I hope that old fear doesn't creep up on me again, and I hope I'll never judge myself to be 'small'.

Hopefully my recovery this week marks the end of this difficult patch, but it may not be over yet. That's why it's extra-important to enjoy and celebrate the small things every day. They are the things that life is made of.

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