Progress report – Q1 was a success…mostly.

A constant refrain from people as we get older is “how can it be xx month” and “I don’t know where the time is going”. I say it, people at work say it and just overhearing conversations when I’m out, I hear it. It’s a cliché, but apparently, it’s true! Whether it’s because we are more aware of the passing of time the older we get or whether our lives are busier and more frantic, time is seemingly speeding up, whipping through the days like a strong wind.

In business, it’s the end of Q1 and the start of Q2 and with that brings celebration of a strong first quarter for some, with surprise that after the Christmas excesses, people are still spending money but the caveat of having to do even better in the next 3 months. Personally, I’m in a similar place, albeit without the issues of running a business. Over the last 3 months, I’ve gone from using 2 crutches for the majority of my day right through the initial (painful) process of rehabilitation and recovery after the ankle surgery at the back-end of 2016. I say painful, and I mean it, in both the physical and mental sense. Physically, it has been bloody hard – learning how to walk without a serious limp, learning how to go up and down stairs using both feet and how to drive again and be able to do all the things that I’d had to stop doing.

Part of the rehab has been sheer bloody mindedness – pushing myself through physio each week, pushing myself in the pool to get fitter and stronger and more confident. Physio is never meant to be easy nor is it supposed to just magically happen, it takes hard work and dedication and effort. I’m not known for my ability to do things the easy way; Husband has continually wondered and shaken his head when I seem to make things harder for myself. My physio has to remind me to be kinder to myself when I’m pushing, pushing, pushing in the gym for one more jump, one more rep, one more minute, sweating and gritting my teeth through the aches. This stubbornness has paid off though. I’m able to walk, get up and down stairs, jump up and down, hop (badly) stand on the operated leg for over 10 seconds without falling over and more excitingly, RUN! Yes, running, that long forgotten gait is back on the agenda!

Mentally, there has been a huge shift. I made the decision to leave my job that I started in July. I hadn’t been happy there for a while, for reasons that I can’t go into here. Suffice to say, I didn’t like being in an environment where I couldn’t do my best, couldn’t be all I wanted to be and felt that I would be happier out of the situation. Fate is a funny thing, because I ended up getting job that I never actually applied for. It found me, by virtue of a CV on the Internet and an excellent recruitment consultant. I’m now entering week 7 (or maybe 8) and it has been a massive learning curve but a brilliant start. I’m much happier (although much more knackered) and I feel my integrity is in tact and will remain that way.

The mental shift hasn’t been all good. While it has spurred me on to make the leap on the job front, enter into the Swimathon (2.5km….to be completed this weekend), enter another swimming distance challenge (5km in May) and book a weekend break to Brussels for Husband and I, it has also triggered some old thoughts and behaviours, none of which I was hoping for. Anxiety that I wasn’t doing enough round the house, anxiety that I was being selfish and not pulling my weight, the (misplaced) belief that somehow, despite working harder and commuting further for longer and learning a new role while still rehabbing the AoD16*, I should also still be doing the lion’s share of the house stuff; cooking, tidying when I got home etc. Cue one almighty melt down one evening and a giant headache after and I realised that one person can’t do it all.

self portrait

I’m slowly learning (again) to ask for help…whether that’s from work when I ask to take a half day because I’m up at sparrows fart for a train to London or texting Husband to ask him to start dinner while I’m on my way home. Asking for help has always been a thing I’m a bit crap at – making me feel like I’ve failed or I’m just not good enough. This is all in my own head…no one has ever told me that by asking, I’m rubbish or less of a person. It’s just my old “mate”, Brian, and his twisted logic that when I’m doing All The Things, likes to throw a spanner in to make All The Things seem a Bit Too Much To Handle. Brian can fuck off.

Case in point: I had racked up (seemingly over a period of decades) a decent amount of Nectar points. I never spent them, thinking I could save them for fuel or food if there were ever a week we were both destitute and would starve. Now, clearly, we’re neither of those things and we are lucky enough to be secure that we can do the weekly food shop and put petrol in the car. The points were just sitting there, with no apparent “prize” sparking our interest enough. Until I saw the Thing. I quite like a gadget, especially a kitchen type gadget, that promises to make me a better cook/baker/tea maker. I was very lucky to adopt a Kenwood food processor from an old friend and have been hankering for a mixer – one with a shiny bowl and several attachments, preferably a dough hook. Why a dough hook? Because, try as I might, I can never, ever seem to get enough strength, patience and technique to knead bread dough to the requisite “silky, smooth” consistency the recipe requires. A dough hook, well, it does it for you. Bung the bread ingredients in, mix it up a bit and then let the hook clank its way for 10 minutes until you get the desired results.

Brian, that irksome bastard, had made me think that using my points to obtain said mixer was a selfish, self-centred thing and that I should surely wait and spend it on something more meaningful and of more use to Husband than to me. I asked Husband and he promptly told me to stop being a prat (in as many words…he’s not unkind) and to buy the sodding mixer if I really wanted it. I did. And then last weekend, made my first loaf of bread in a looooong time. It was glorious, much better than any of the ones I’d made entirely by hand. It did feel a bit like a cheat but again, that’s Brian thinking he can trip me up and make me believe I’m shit, even when the bread looked, smelt and tasted divine.

With Q2 now in full swing, I’ve got those targets that the boss has set looming large. I have my 2nd quarterly health MOT and gym induction tomorrow, at the slightly insane time of 9am (better to get it out of the way) and hopefully, my statistics have improved from January. I know I’ve lost a bit of weight, I know I’ve toned up and changed shape but by how much? I know I am in rehab mode vs. training mode and I shouldn’t judge my progress in the same way…but old habits die hard. I’ll try to be happy with any improvement, no matter how small.

I’m sure the CEO of my brain will be itching to find out how Q2 is progressing and how far on track it is, but they can wait until June for the results, just like the rest of us.

*AoD16 – Ankle of Doom 2016

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