I recently received a flurry of notifications that the subscription for this blog site was due for its annual renewal. Given that it has been almost two years since I last wrote anything, I thought for a while that I would let it lapse and save myself a few pounds.
But it niggled in the back of my mind for a few days, until I decided that I would keep the subscription running and use it as a way of gently prodding my very inactive brain cells back into some form of action.
Looking back on some of my posts I realise that much of my time now is now spent looking back rather than looking to the future; truth is that 2 years and 7 months since I tested positive for Covid-19 in December 2020 I find imagining the future rather difficult.
It is now almost two years since I officially left my last academic post, and even longer since I last worked, and although I have spent a good proportion of those 942 days trying to be optimistic, I realise that much of the time I am dwelling far too much on the past:
“I used to be….”
“I used to be able to….”
Whilst I have spent a significant part of the past 31 months telling myself (and largely believing) just how very lucky I am: I have a loving family, supportive friends and a wonderful home, I have recently come to recognise that I have generally eased off the ‘looking forward’ because I find it so difficult to visualise the future.
I accept that on the days (too many) when my brain refuses to fire itself up sufficiently to string more than two words together, I try to validate myself by thinking about the things I have achieved in my life; the times when I could remember things – lots of things – and tell other people about them. And get paid for it!!! Now I must bribe even my cats with treats to sit and listen to me.
Each time fire up the new man in my life - Brian the mobility scooter (after the snail in the ‘Magic Roundabout’ for those of you who remember that very bizarre children’s` programme) – I irrationally feel eyes on me ,and have to fight the compulsion to tell everyone that I used to be able to run long(ish) distances and ride my bike for hours on end.
Why? Maybe because I have not accepted yet that some days I need it and that it`s better for me to beep my way around the supermarket than walking around and then needing to spend the next 3 days (or more) lying like a festering slug in my bed.
I have now come to recognise that I um unlikely to ever get back to where I was before that positive test, and that I am grieving that way of life.
Way back in the late 1980`s I learned for the first time about the five stages of grief model developed by Elizabeth Kubler-Ross in 1969 to explain how people diagnosed with a terminal disease contemplated their own death. To the best of my knowledge I still have a good few years left ahead of me, but as things stand I am likely to be living them differently to how I had planned and hoped for.
For example, following in the wheel tracks of Mark Beaumont and cycling around the world does not seem too likely right now, unless I do it in 6-8 mile chunks – the maximum battery range – on Brian.
Getting what is left of my academic brain into 1st gear, I can see that picking up the threads of this blog and writing for an unseen (and likely non-existent) audience may well be a helpful way for me to work through, and make some sense of what has happened over the past couple of years and create a way of me accepting what I cannot change, and pushing on where I can.
Thank you for listening.
Until next time.