Recuperation, my next projects and your year ahead
When it hurts to move, you think differently.
When your body becomes so insistently present — the world shifts.
Never before have I been physically incapable of doing as I wished. (I concede the backflip and side splits were never serious contenders on my list of physical feats, though my teenage self would have enjoyed bragging rights on those.)
Today I’ll rejoice in being able to get out of bed and stand up straight. I can even walk a little at an almost-normal pace before my innards pull a bit too sharply: a reminder to temper my exertion for now.
I have blithely inhabited good fortune physically and am keen to retain my gratitude for this as I return to good health; I’m writing this as a reminder. These thoughts may be applicable to your world too.
I had upper abdominal surgery a week before Christmas. Though touted as ‘minor’, its impact felt major to me. If you’ve ever been too eager with core strengthening exercises, you’ll have realised in the aftermath your abdominal muscles lend their strength to the most rudimentary of daily movements.
Swimming through pain killers and desperate for sleep the first night after the operation, I didn’t let my frazzled brain think; it was in preservation mode.
When it was time to remove the hospital-issue smock 24 hours later, I realised I’d needed that time to find the courage to look at my aching stomach. Somehow I thought the pain might have lessened if I didn’t have any external visual reference for it.
Four incisions. There were no stitches. The dressings: transparent. The holes in my body were taped together. I haltingly clothed myself for the outside world.
Every divot and bump on the road home kicked me in the guts.
Following 5 nights’ splintered sleep, ginger daytime movement between bed and couch and the occasional outdoor shuffle, I was eager to heal. I wasn’t temperamentally suited to the sudden elevation of milestones such as ‘lying almost flat’ and ‘standing almost straight’. (Granted, not many of us are.)
I was only slightly squeamish about removing the dressings myself on day 6. Fail. I nearly fainted. My partner came capably and soothingly to the rescue. All seemed well and he taped me up again.
If this account seems self-indulgent or melodramatic to you, I know in some ways, it is.
But I think it’s unwise to diminish our own pain (physical or mental); as if by some crooked social measure it’s not valid until it reaches an imaginary, externally ‘condoned’ amplitude.
I’m also writing this in case you needed to hear that.
This is a reflection on all the tumbling, leaping, running and just getting up to go to the bathroom, without pain, that I’ve taken for granted. About how difficult it is to relinquish independence and how fraught but rewarding asking for help can be.
It’s a nod to the greater compassion needed for anyone making their way ever-so-slowly along the street.
It’s an acknowledgement that sometimes when our thoughts turn to the legacy of our life, we come up a bit short. The missed opportunities make themselves more readily visible in hindsight because we’ve had no altered state against which to view ourselves and our actions.
But mostly, mercifully, I am just grateful I will recover.
Using this shift to imagine my coming year, there are plenty of yet-to-dos. I’ve referred to my Ultimate Freedom or Focus Planner (naturally — got your copy yet?) and I’ve been doing meatier foundational work on my goals and values using Your Best Year Yet (I’m not an affiliate, just a fan).
Multiple facets of my wellbeing will be my focus during the coming 12 months but creating work that matters to me and others, of which I can be proud, is vital.
Next projects from Treasure HQ
So, I’d love to know what you’d like to see next from me. I have 3 projects in mind:
- An anti-procrastination resource to help you get your work into the world — provisional title: FINISH A creative guide to action, focus and satisfaction .
- Travel/life memoirs; living on a few continents, at sea for a while and travelling to nearly 40 countries — provisional title: Confessions of a Flaneur .
- A practical guide for dreamers, a curation of original, subscriber-only content from the first 2 years of We are the Treasure Hunters — provisional title: The Best of the Quests.
Let’s know which (if any!) sound interesting, using the form below.
Your year ahead
Please share your focus/theme/word for the coming year too — on or — I always want to know where you’re heading on your treasure hunt. Maybe I can help. Either way, thanks for being here. x
Image edited, original credit: Tom Eversley via ISO Republic