Yesterday, I opened the laptop with the sole goal of writing some blog posts, for the first time in a while. My blog has been a bit neglected lately, not because I don’t love writing and sharing things with you, or have run out of ideas; quite the opposite really, I have so many ideas whirling around I don’t know which to tackle first! But mainly, I haven’t been writing nearly as much as I’d like, or had planned to, simply because I can’t seem to find the spare energy or time to devote to it, right now.
I have to manage my limited energy like it’s a high-flying businessperson with a packed-out schedule; everything in my day is centred around prioritising energy for the most important things, and often compromising on others. And one of the unintended compromises, which has come with the wonderful blessings of being able to do more admin work for the farm and spending a couple of hours a week outside, in the garden or around the farm, has been writing for myself.
I’ll openly admit, I’ve been feeling increasingly resentful of this. Frustrated that I don’t yet have the energy or functioning to include all three in my week in a sustainable way. Exasperated at the fact that everything comes with consequences, and every choice to do one thing is at the expense of another. You get used to making sacrifices when living in a malfunctioning body, but that doesn’t mean the unpredictable game of ‘this or that’ is ever easy or painless.
Anyway, I was feeling all these things when I sat down to write yesterday, and as if by magic, fate or coincidence, whatever you want to call it, I came across a letter I wrote to future me exactly 2 years ago today, on 28/08/2018, to be read at a time just like this.
It felt like the hug for the weary soul that was very much needed, so I thought I’d share some of it with you, in case your soul needs this message too.
Dear Future Holly
I’m writing this letter whilst sitting in bed, where I’ve been all day, after a very stressful night; you remember when the cows escaped onto the road? Well, that was last night.
I’m writing this because I’ve realised, I don’t want you to ever forget how this time period feels.
I have no idea where you are right now. I don’t know whether or not you’re now well enough to be working, or are going out to places in your amazing powerchair that I know you’re going to get sometime soon. Or maybe you’re at the point we’ve been waiting to get to all this time, where you can go out into the field to spend time with the horses and cows! But wherever you are, I want to bring you back to now.
Last night, you felt more helpless than you have ever felt before. You willed your body with everything you had to allow you to go and help. You laid on your mum’s bed, wishing that you weren’t shaking from the adrenaline coursing through your veins, wishing your speech wasn’t starting to slur and your words didn’t have to be forced out of your achy throat; wishing you were out there with your dad, making sure the cows were all safe.
At the moment, you’re doing really well. You’re able to bake again and do lots of crafty things, and are even doing some gentle physio exercises to strengthen your legs and core. You’re also able to travel downstairs for an hour once a week, and are working on spending 10 minutes in the garden during that hour. You’ve done it twice so far, but you thought you’d pull a few weeds around the doorway while sat there, so ended up with throat ulcers. When you try again, you’re definitely going to do nothing but sit outside and breathe in the fresh air.
You long to be able to spend time outside every week. You long to touch your horses and see the cows in person instead of through a screen. You can’t wait to see a calf born from just a few meters away. You love doing some of the farm paperwork, and the blessing of being able to think clearly enough and concentrate long enough to complete tasks like invoicing and VAT has not lost its shine yet, and I hope it never does.
Never forget what it felt like to only be able to read a children’s book for 30 seconds; I hope you will always make time for reading books and learning new things, and that tasks like paperwork are never viewed as chores.
This is your reminder to never take for granted the things you long for right now.
Right now, you can clearly remember when you were mostly bedbound and the thought of doing all the things listed above was nothing but a distant dream. You cherish the movement you get to do with your body, the exercises, walking, and sitting up are never chores done begrudgingly, they are gifts. I sincerely hope you still see them like this.
I hope any improvements you’ve experienced from this point forwards haven’t gone unnoticed. And you’re not so focused on where you want to be next that you’re blinkered to the joys of the life you already have.
Last night, when I was longing to be outside helping, I forgot that it was brilliant to still be conscious and able to speak at that time of night and in such a stressful situation, not long ago I would have had to go to bed and wait until morning to find out what had happened. I really hope I never forget things like that again, although I know it’s inevitable, but I hope that reading this will stop it happening at least once.
I want you to also promise that you’ll grab every chance you get with both hands; don’t let the fear of failure ever stop you from trying.
Right now, you look at people’s lives and you think of how if you were them, you’d make different decisions because you’d know that experiences in life are too precious to waste because of things like the weather conditions, the extra time it will take, or emotions like embarrassment and fear of judgment. I want you to remember this for when it’s your chance to make these choices.
One last thing before I go, please always be kind to yourself and recognise you’re not perfect and neither should you be. Mistakes are part of life and if you don’t make them, you’re not doing it right. You’re going to forget all these things from time to time, and that’s okay. You can be grateful and still yearn for more. You can be thankful for what you have, while also recognising your reality is difficult and messy. Give yourself a break.
Read this letter whenever you need reminding of where you’ve come from. Remember that how ill I feel in this moment, after last night’s events, wasn’t forever, but also that it doesn’t matter if it was, or if it returns to being your normal, because right now, I am happy, and I am living a soul-enriching life, even though it’s one with limits.
My wish is that you still are, or are on your way back there.
Lots of love, always, from Past Holly xxx
I can remember writing this; it felt so weird writing to myself, and I certainly never intended to share any of it. But I’ve found peace and comfort in these words each time I’ve revisited them over the last two years, and I know I will for years to come. I guess, this too is a letter to my future self, and a plea for you to write yourself one.
You might think it sounds too ‘out there’, but trust me, go scribble it in a notebook, or on your phone or computer, then tuck it away and forget about it. Time will bring you back to it, one day, and I promise, you’ll be thankful you wrote it, if only for the insight into a person you never want to forget.