The many benefits of dog walking – ha how funny that would have been to write dogging

I was thinking this morning whilst walking Bells, nothing unusual there, yet today’s topic I felt the urge to share.

Time – throughout our life we are either wishing it away or wanting more of it. We can’t wait to get through long boring days in classrooms or offices, wishing hours away until we finish work or the week away for a hot date at the weekend, or months away for a holiday. Planning weddings a few years away in advance or exotic holidays, that require a clear credit card or healthy bank account. Planning our life after the kids grow up and leave home, or our retirement. Maybe we are born programmed to push ahead, have constant stream of goals and desired outcomes.

From a young age you are always rushing ahead, roll, crawl, walk, run, run faster …school holidays, birthdays, milestone birthdays, being legally able to drink, drive have sex, not all at the same time. Life is almost careless and carefree, sometimes we waste days in drunken slumbers or on mindless activity as we can afford to after all, right ? 

I never feel there is enough time of late, probably as my habits of taking on too much and juggling roles are back in full effect. Days whizz past in a flurry of meetings, calls, emails, texts, punctuated by other mediums of communication. Stopping for a moment to pause for breath before cramming evenings and weekends with ‘balance’ to work and more stimulation. At the gym on Monday, the Centre Manager, who’d not seen me for months, remarked on how well I looked. I said I feel like something is missing from my life, as an explanation to my attendance back in the pool and he replied, ‘Yes, rest.’ Hmmm he may have a point.

It’s not the first time I’ve been told I need to slow down and smell the roses in the past few weeks. I have a rule that if I’m told something three times I need to listen. Smell the roses, ok, I make sure I at least take my time in my reflective morning walks and have added in an end of day a barefoot walk around the garden. Not always such a good feeling on muddy days.

Anyway I digress, back to this morning’s thoughts, how precious time is. Post diagnosis time suddenly has an urgency, you want to make up for lost time, and fit in a long list of activities from a newly developed, never ending bucket list. There is also a sense of I want to do everything whilst I can, which some people may cluck at and consider you crazy for having such thoughts. I mean it’s not like you go all through your life thinking I need to fit in as much  go-karting as much as possible as when I’m old I may need a knee replacement. Yet having been diagnosed with cancer and seemingly reminded almost weekly by headlines of celebrities or members in group forums sadly announcing recurrences you can’t help but at times to be reminded of just how lucky you are to have got through your treatment and yet the same fate may lay ahead for you.

So here’s the SP. It smacked me in my face yet again to make the best of now, to encourage everyone I know that ‘the now’ is the best place to be. The past – well it’s gone and no amount of sentimental thoughts, reminiscing or daydreaming will ever bring that back nor change what has happened. The future, well, who really knows what is ahead for all of us. So the right here and now is the answer. Not something I’ve not reminded myself of a million, kazillion times since my diagnosis. Be in the now. For everything is temporary.

At the other end of the scale, when I stop and consider some of  my service users at work, I am filled with wonder, their days spent sleeping once again, alone or silenced by hearing impairments, sight loss, blanketed by dementia, confined to wheel chairs or trapped within paralysed bodies, getting through days, I’ve no idea how long their days must seem at times, punctuated by strangers that visit to adjust or feed. Does your mind then race and replay all the memories and images you have seen in your life ? Advanced dementia is not an attractive prospect to anyone.

Somewhere in the middle of all this is the rest of us, some of us giving ourselves age limits, and berating ourselves for not doing something by a certain age or date. We are all bustling along like commuters on a narrow corridor trying to fit into a carriage, until you twist your ankle and have to sit out and watch the others. It’s during this brief pause you reconsider the speed in which everyone is whizzing around beside you and can actually consider with greater thought those around you and your own pace. You consider what actions you can do to slow down the pace, make changes or in some cases just get back up and on with it, running with the pack as long as you are able. Know what I think ? Dance, skate, speed, crawl, limp, running man, whatever suits you just keep moving forward at the pace that suits you, live for now, YOLO, but don’t wish time away nor waste it. Finding balance and keeping balance has got to be the hardest thing to achieve in this life, maybe that is a key lesson.

For me, today reminded me that I need to let go of some of the past that creeps up around me at times and let go of the fear of the future, for that isn’t now. Embrace the now and make that work for me. Simples…..

Until next time….

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