Life | Why I'm Throwing out my Plans for 2016
Make yourself a tea. This is going to be a long one and I do hope it's worth it.
At the end of 2015 I was - finally - diagnosed with ME after suffering for just shy of two and a half years. Since my formal diagnosis, I've been pretty open about it on Twitter - and found a community that has helped infinitely with my mental state moving from "Yup, I'm definitely crackers." during the summer (genuinely.) whilst I was being passed from doctor to doctor having blood test upon blood test to "I'm okay with this - look how good you're doing, you might not be able to run a marathon but at least you god out of bed today." somewhere in October and, most recently to "Oh look! There's others too! I'm not the only one who attempted to cut through a JIF lemon."*
*This - whilst being a perfect metaphor for many of the stupid things I do before my brain wakes up enough to notice - was an actual tweet by a fellow ME sufferer and blogger.
But, back to plans. Up until now my life has been one huge 'When I' - when I finished primary school I knew exactly what school I wanted to go to. There I knew what I wanted to be before leaving that school and that I wanted to go to sixth form not college. That I wanted to go to university and that, once all that was over I wanted to move into my own place. Whilst, in retrospect, these seem like relatively simple but big changes, I planned them meticulously over a period of years, consciously worrying over them and preparing for various scenarios. I was a plan-a-holic.
2015 was the year - I guess if I had to pick a year it was my year - that all that stopped. I graduated, moved, learnt to rive, got a job. I ticked all the boxes in my life plan with two months to spare and now I find myself floating between a far off future and now-ness.
Had it been six months earlier I'd be chastising myself for replying to an e-mail a day later than I said I would or my inner voice would be sparking up telling couch-potato me that this was not the most productive use of my time and that I wasn't as good as this person or that person that went to the gym and clearly put more time into their blog. My planning was working against me.
It took me a long time to realise that the reality is that whilst I do have that time, I don't necessarily have the energy. I physically can't always be 'on' or make any kind of concrete plans. AND - future Charley - THAT'S OKAY. Sometimes I can't even speak coherently. Social engagements (and blog events too!) have to be planned around rest periods and simply being a normal human being is exhausting. There's a constant split in my attention between my fatigue, pain and inner voice that is constantly crooning about how a 'normal person' would have handled things better. Yet still I tell myself off for not accomplishing these goals whether it be on a daily, weekly or life-plan basis.
After studying psychology for so many years, I thought I would have the vaguest of ideas about the mind but I can honestly say that I still have little clue as to why I do the things I do (read: JIF lemon incident). I just know that it's all in the little improvements. From finding a way to prop my arm up on the foot of the bed so I can dry my hair without exhausting myself to realising I didn't substitute any words for their homophones in my latest e-mail. I need to focus on the little wins for a change, rather than the big ones.
So that's why I'll be throwing out my to-do list for 2016. What about you?