This time of year always presents me with some challenges. Why? Well it’s my birthday as well as an annual rally back home on Mull that I used to compete in – in fact I started navigating when I was 16.
Why should these two events bother me? Well annual events tend to smack me in the face a bit. They make me realise that another year has been added on to my ME Years, that another year has passed within these four walls, that year 28 of my life has been a write-off just like 27, 26 and 25.
This year though I don’t feel quite so bad about it all. Why? Well a few reasons. First of all my husband made my birthday really special. He knows how hard I can find it, he knows how low it can make me and so he treated me like a princess. Honestly I’m so lucky to have such an amazing husband, someone who understands and supports me completely.
Then there’s the fact that I decided to actually voice these feelings to my CP. It wasn’t easy to do, I almost felt like I was being shallow about growing older, but as with everything I’ve taken to her so far she understood. She quite rightly pointed out that I’m focussing on the negatives (something hubby tells me a lot). Instead I should be thinking about where I am now compared to last year, the things that I have achieved, the things that have changed in our lives. She has a friend who every year writes down the things she has achieved in that year, so as to highlight the good and perhaps the stuff that needs worked on.
So I thought about it. Well now we have a support network. I have my CP, a new wheelchair, a stairlift and I can have a shower thanks to my new stool. I understand myself better. I am working on my OCD, on understanding my limits, on achieving small things and taking the good from them rather than being “gutted I couldn’t do more”. I am learning to be more self compassionate. Yes physically I might have gone back from where I was last year but mentally I’m in a much better place.
So this year I turned 29 and although I know I’ve not achieved all those things I thought I would have done by this age, I now know that I have to put that behind me. I have to focus on what I have achieved and what I’d like to achieve next. They are small aims but they feel just as amazing as achieving my old aims did. Does that make sense? For example I am already feeling mastery and achievement at having written this blog post. I feel great mentally. I feel the same achievement from this as I would have felt from cleaning the entire house back in my well days.
The rally is on tonight and all weekend. I am gutted I can’t be there to watch but I have my phone so I’ll be able to text friends and keep up online. It might not be quite the same but I can still be a part it, just in a different way.
So I guess what I am saying is this. Be more self-compassionate. Don’t be so hard on yourself. Reassess your situation. Stop and smell the roses rather than focussing upon the thorns.
If you are interested in finding out more about self-compassion then I recommend this website. There’s also a quiz on there so you can see how self-compassionate you are. I didn’t do well but it has opened my eyes and so I aim to do better!