It’s not so long ago that we were literally running around the place, doing adventure races through London, horse jump courses at night and the Olympic mountain bike course. You were so strong and bringing me huge amounts of adrenaline through racing, running half marathons, training for a full marathon and doing triathlons too.
Then things started to go so wrong, but I kept going. You started to fail until one scary day you refused to work at all. I literally could not take another step. Someone had to go and find me a wheelchair to get me back to the office.
I had taken you for granted for so long, abused and pushed you and you weren’t taking it any longer. This caused a serious identity crisis….not least because along with you failing all of my energy seemed to have disappeared and I was in constant, unrelenting pain across my whole body.
It took a huge amount of swallowing my pride and fighting to get a decent wheelchair, and then fighting even harder to get rehab.
I remember going to a park and taking forever to stagger, with two crutches to the first bench. And then resting for half an hour and doing it all again. Over time building up to making it a quarter of the way to the next bench and turning around again. Over the course of six months going from bench to bench around the whole park. And then the day when I could skip a bench and keep going onto the next one.
You have taught me infinite patience and kindness to myself. There was no space for that in my old life where we were literally running around all over the place. This has been a hard lesson, but one that was desperately needed.
Now, after over a year of steady, patient, continuous rehab, physio, yoga, swimming and gentle walking I can rely on you again for the most part.
I am able to venue out into the woods, and I take so much pleasure from this. I search for the tiny things, the minuscule changes from one day to the next as the seasons change.
And of course, this is the secret to a good life. Paying attention to the tiniest of things, actively searching for things to take delight and joy from. The light in the day.
We have to focus on this present moment.
It is so difficult to stay present, there are so many calls on our time, but we must stay here. We might not be able to see it tomorrow, we might not be able to venture here again.
Legs, I have worked so hard to get you to the point where I can trust you where you won’t just give way or refuse to work and leave me stranded.
Yes, I’m still kind to you and use a wheelchair if I am going to be out at an event all day long, or if I am heading to a museum or gallery. You really do not like standing still at all, buckling and complaining. You don’t cope at all well with hard, unforgiving surfaces, or having to be on the move all day long. But I know this and can work with it.
The most important thing is heading out to nature together, with Buster, looking for the small things to take pleasure in.
So, legs, thank you for the lessons you have taught me, they have been painful to learn. But let’s face it, I probably wasn’t going to learn any other way.
This is part of the April Love Letters project.