The brightest and most memorable days in my life were at the time, just ordinary days.
Many didn’t seem particularly extraordinary at the time, some were just another day at the start, but turned into a collection of moments I knew I would treasure for the rest of my life, but never have I been able to plan a memorable day and make it happen.
I don’t remember my life as birthday parties or Christmas dinners, around holidays, calendars or special anniversaries. I doubt many people do, but it surpises me that I do not, given how much I love the logical and methodical things in life.
Part of that is because I cannot predict my health. In the best of months, during the best week, in the middle of the near perfect day, it only takes seconds – a joint that dislocates at a particularly awkward angle, an asthma attack that blows in on the breeze and closes up my lungs, a migraine that starts with a sharp, instant aura and there goes my life out the window for a week – or rather there goes my plans, schedules, hopes and expectations.
I have spent most of my life punching through the bad times. I have hiked down a mountain after dislocating not one, but three weightbaring joints. I sat my final exams for my undergraduate degree during one of the worst migraines of my life and still get nightmares over those collection of days. I’ve persevered. I am very good at perseverance despite the end cost.
It took a long time to learn that taking the long way around is a vast improvement and actualy more likely to get me where I want to do.
Perseverance may last, but I break long before it gets me to my goals.
I am still no good at spending days or weeks in bed. I am terrible at doing nothing. It took even longer to learn that sometimes it’s best to keep at a task regardless of how I feel whilst other times, it is more productive to stop before I make a huge mess I will have to untangle when I feel better before I can continue where I left off.
It’s only recently that I have come to the conclusion that maybe the biggest problem is that I define the productivity of my day based on what I value. Progress towards a set goal = time well spent. Idle activities = time wasted = time spent on things that doesn’t move me forwards. Not true maybe?
Maybe sometimes spending time on little things that are so small that they won’t be remembered is not a waste of time, but the only way to make good use of my time.
Maybe life isn’t always about filling up a bucket with water. Maybe, sometimes, it’s about consolidation, relaxing breaks and taking stock of where I am and if I am still heading where I set off towards.
Maybe these moments, hours, days, weeks at times where being sick is so incapacitating that I cannot do a thing have their own value. Time slows down. Days stretch out into small eternities and instead of trying to go faster, maybe, sometimes, its better to just take it slow.
*Title from William Wordsworth’s Lines written a few miles above Tintern Abbey.