It is really hard to believe I have been off work for six months. My hip operation was at the end of December last year and finally after lots of pain, determination and hard work some good progress has been made enough to go back to work. It still hurts like hell at some point every day but I am able to do more on it than I have for a very long time. I am really hopeful that with continued effort it will keep improving and just maybe sometime not to far away, it will become an issue of my past, rather than one of my present.
I should be all smiles at the prospect of a less painful future and to be getting back to normality. But with me it’s never that simple which is always the way with me. When one thing gets sorted or nearly sorted in this case, something else raises it’s annoying and life interrupting head. My body is just like that game at the fairground “bobbing heads” one thing disappears and another pops up.
However, instead of skipping back to work with a new-found mobility, I am going back with pesky clots still squatting on my heart valve. Loads of chest symptoms, daily injections that I didn’t have this time six months ago and oh I mustn’t forget raised liver enzymes, because of the drugs I have to take to get rid of the pesky clots. What a wonderful collection of joy, but do you know what? I might not be skipping my way back to work, but I am certainly not grumbling either.
It’s so hard to believe that six months has past, time is so bizarre. In some ways it feels like a moment ago I was being wheeled down to the operating theatre, but in other ways it literally feels like a life time ago.
On the surface to onlookers it might appear that not a lot has taken place in my six months off. An operation, lots of hydrotherapy, finding out about the pesky clots. An annoying struggle with blood thinners, a bout of pneumonia and lots and lots of medicine, topped off with some daily physiotherapy. All of which has taken place wrapped in loads of wonderful support from loved ones and whilst a hideous amount of vanilla lattes have been consumed (I actually dread to think how many). For me so much more has taken place during these past 6 months.
When it was decided there wasn’t any other option but to have this big hip surgery, I recognised it would mean imposed time off ‘normal life’. Now I knew this was in no way the same as the joy 6 months annual would be, but it wasn’t going to be the same as being really ill either (although the weeks of pneumonia were). Leading up to my operation date I had thought about the time I would have in between my hydro, physio and healing, and realised it would be really precious. The sort of time that as an adults we rarely get.
We are so busy, caught up in the day-to-day of work, family, looking after our homes, paying bills, making our money stretch that little bit further. Squeezing in some fun stuff, worrying about this that and the other and more often than not, dreaming of life when we would just have some more time. I knew this operation would give me some of that precious time. Time tha I could use to regroup. Yeah admittedly it’s not as good as the time retirement, or a lottery win would bring, but I still saw this time as an opportunity, rather than a chore.
So what have I achieved?
I have taken time to reassess, regroup and decide what is actually important to me. Deciding what needs changing, what needs improving and what needs completly ditching from my life.
Me and the husband have decided on a realistic ten-year plan and have even taken our first monetary steps towards it.
I have actually started and stuck to some new healthier daily routines. Such as meal planning and experimenting with new recipes (prompted by my step son, pointing out we just rotate about nine meals choices). I finally started and maintained The Breathworks Mindfulness Meditation Programme For Health. Plus I have got into a routine of daily physio and not just aimed at my hip but at all my other aches and pains as well.
I got my arse into gear and got this blog page up and running. I am getting my head around all the technical bits of bobs. Finding my written voice, which I will be honest is harder than I expected. I am building an audience and an ambition of where I would like it to go and my art with it.
I have also found a new an exciting new attitude towards my art. Meaning instead of being driven only by producing and creating pieces people want to purchase, I am totally inspired to improve my skills and creativity. Meaning I am no longer only doing what I am best at and avoiding what I find hard. I am starting as total beginner and LOVING the challenge of exploring portraiture and life drawing and painting. Although in honesty at times it is quite uncomfortable being a complete novice at something I love so much and am used to being good at. But I have found the motivation to learn and practise, practise and practise some more. Which is the complete opposite of how I have spent the previous three years of my art life, only producing completed pieces to sell.
My art is not the only thing where I have had an attitude shift in the last six months. Being away from work has really highlighted what we all know but don’t give our self time to really believe, when we are head high in work stress, to-do-lists and deadlines. I am utterly replaceable and unimportant, everything carries on and gets done without me. But more importantly, without me needing to worry or stress about it. Now I am not saying I am going back to work with the intention of not giving a sh*t about my work, my standards, my teaching or students. But I do intend to go back to work with a very different approach. Which is to do my job to the best of my ability without creating stresses for myself, that are not rightfully mine and that I can easily avoid.
So with this precious time as well as giving my future mobility a better chance, I have actually achieved things to that to onlookers might be hardly noticeable. But that are really important to me. I am so pleased that I am to be looking back now, not shaking my head, disappointed in myself for I wasting this time. I can actually pat myself on the back, rather than beat myself up, for not using it on things I knew would make my life better. So I am going back to work looking forward to a new and better chapter.
However, I will not be getting too excited or over the top with the self praise just yet. The real achievement will be in another six months when I am still doing these things. When I am still blogging, when I am less of a novice artist of the human form and have sketchbooks full of practise. When Breathworks and daily physio are as much a part of my day as eating and drinking. When I am enjoying my teaching and not giving myself pointless, self-imposed stress. Only then will I really have the right to be truly chuffed with myself. When I am still doing these things, once normal life resumes and takes my time and my energy once again. So fingers and toes crossed, I won’t be shaking my head in self disappointment when 2017 is drawing to a close. Watch this space and wish me luck.
You can find details of all the Breathworks course, and books including the book and audio programme I have been using ‘Mindfulness for Health, A Practical Guide’ by visiting the link below.