Some of my most loyal readers and those that know me best have remarked that they like my blog because when they read it they can hear me speaking. I’ve always taken that as a compliment. If you’ve never heard me speaking, imagine a rather loud voice (my friends are always telling me to quieten down in restaurants) with a hint of a northern accent, which grows stronger or weaker depending on who I’m talking to. But otherwise, it’s not too different to what you’re reading right now.
But if this post sounds like I’m speaking more than usual, it’s because I am. I’m trying out some new dictation software because my wrist injury, unfortunately, hasn’t healed. In fact, it seems to have got worse. Of course, I haven’t done much to help the situation. My attempts at resting my wrist didn’t work out too well.
It seems I’m not very good at resisting activities I love doing and I always think my body will cope fine. I can be a little reckless and impulsive and find it hard to say no to myself. And I definitely don’t like missing out.
So last weekend, I found myself climbing down a rock face, needing to use both hands, before jumping off rocks into the sea, with no idea of how I was going to get out. As it was, I had to haul myself up out of the water, tugging on seaweed to stop me getting washed away as the waves knocked me off my feet. Not an ideal situation for someone with a wrist injury. Why couldn’t I stick to the simple and gentle option of swimming in the calm rock pool? Why couldn’t I resist the urge to go bigger and better, to go one step further, to take the more exciting route? Why is enough never enough?
I’m smiling as I write this – or rather as I speak it – because there are parts of my personality that drive me crazy but they’re the parts of my personality that make me me. I can try and temper them, but ultimately, I am who I am. I’m always going to want to jump off rocks into the sea. The day will come when I’ll be forced to sit on the sidelines but I’m not ready for it yet.
But there are or there can be consequences to the parts of my personality that resist rest and time for healing. And I may be suffering those consequences right now. Not being able to use my right wrist has brought a lot of frustration and stirred up a lot of emotion. I feel very vulnerable. And I constantly wonder or worry what would happen if it didn’t heal properly.
I was wondering that this morning as I went for a brisk stroll through my local park in the sunshine. I figured that getting my heart pumping and the blood flowing around my body might do me some good. As I walked, I realised that while not being able to write on my computer again would be a big blow, the things I would truly miss if my wrist didn’t heal had nothing to do with my work.
If I couldn’t cycle, if I couldn’t swim, if I couldn’t jump off rocks into the sea and get out again, if I couldn’t climb down a rock face to the shore, put up a tent or throw a rucksack on my back, they’re the things I would truly miss. Along with dancing, since I need my right hand to salsa, merengue or do any partner dance.
So while my work and my writing are important to me and often bring me peace, it’s good to know that my heart lies elsewhere.
Which got me thinking about other areas of my life and whether I’ve had or have my priorities out of line. I’m aware, for example, that for many years I put work and achievements before love and relationships. I’m pleased to say that is changing, though it’s hard to break the habit of a lifetime.
Of course, as an extremist, there is always the temptation to go the other way. I know I’m quite capable of dedicating the rest of my hours to swimming in the sea and cycling and fun and love and relationships. Now that doesn’t sound like a bad life, but I’m pretty sure I would feel unfulfilled if I ignored my hopes and dreams for my work.
So, once again, it comes down to that most difficult of concepts: balance. I’ll be working on that as I nurse my wrist back to full health, making sure I make time for fun but also not giving up on projects that are close to my heart.
With that, I’ll wrap up this first dictated blog post, suddenly aware that speaking into the computer – while practical right now – is very different to tapping on the keyboard and crafting sentences on the screen. I’m reminded how much I love the art of writing. So here’s hoping I can get this wrist back in action very soon.