Saturday, September 14

on not picking up where I left off - recovery dilemnas


less is more, more or less

It’s a little perplexing to find myself nearly 23 and so very far off the typical western life path. I’ve been existing in a different world, as far away from merit, competition and systems as I could limp, in order to re learn to exist without pain. 

Unlike my peers, I do not have a bachelor. The last time I worked for a boss was 5 years ago. If I were to write my resume there would be a blank for most of my adult life. My means of income: the pension. Role: lying on the couch and popping pain killers. Not to brag or anything, but I can swallow six at a time. Without choking.
I wonder: how on earth do you proceed when this is your situation? If I do continue to have more strength each year, I have to think about reassimilating. But I am so altered, it’s not as simple as picking up where I left off.

The thing is, I find myself desiring the opposite life to the one I wanted and lived before. I don’t want to practice tirelessly to become a flautist, despite feeling the same passionate love for the arts. I don’t even want to teach really, because it is intrinsically linked to the world that surrounds my illness. I want to lead a simple life. I just want to love and be well.

High achiever options are out the window. I mean, I am seriously considering dog walking and floristry. If you’d suggested that to me 5 years ago, I would have given you a withering look. 

I knew what I wanted to invest energy in even as a young girl. I never once looked up potential careers because I didn’t need suggestions. I was bamboozled that some people had no idea of what to do for a vocation and surprised about how often they changed course. I thought they lacked constancy. Now I sit on the couch and write down lists of things that interest me, like a Year 10 student deciding for the first time. Only, now I am the person with no conviction or sureness of which direction I should turn in.

But there is a step I can take now now, and it dawned on me and Ben a month ago as we grappled with the ‘what next’ question for the hundredth time. What next for someone who wants to dip their toes in life outside the lounge room? For someone who doesn’t want to do what they’re most qualified in, doesn’t want to start a whole new degree, doesn’t have much energy, and would love a family before tooooo long....

I can volunteer.
It’s a chance for me to take a gentle step out of my cocoon. It’s a pressure free way to test my health, aside from driving alertness and vacuuming ease. I don’t know why it took me so long to think of it, possibly because I’d never considered it in all my life.  I am thinking of offering 2 hours per week to begin with, to see how I cope. Can you imagine me coming home from having gone out and contributed?! Right now, I am most interested in Geelong Animal Welfare Society, the local pound which cares for so many beautiful animals. I don’t feel ready to deal with people in need yet, because I am still so fragile. But I feel I could care for homeless dogs.

 I am struck by how excited I am to work for nothing and do a menial task – and the strangest thing of all is that I am as happy now or happier than I was when I was doing ‘greater’ things. 

I have a very strong feeling that success doesn't equal happiness. 

1 comment: