This place has been quiet for a while, hasn’t it?
A lot of things have changed since I last talked to you.
Like, really talked to you.
I thought about putting you to sleep, pulling out the plug instead of letting you die a slow natural death, but you have witnessed and held so much of my memories. I couldn’t give you up.
So now you have no choice but to grow with me.
In the past few months I have moved from Guinness World Records to a City law firm on a secondment to complete the last seat of my training contract. This means come March 2019, I will qualify as a solicitor in England and Wales. What a “journey” I can hear you say. Like, finally.
I don’t like the word “journey”, because it suggests the act of travelling somewhere and imposes the need for a destination. Sure it keeps one on track, but it also holds one captive and makes one sound passionlessly ambitious.
Think about it, if you’re really passionate about what you do, you wouldn’t even dream about the ending.
But you are right, this road to qualification has been a journey.
It has entrapped me for a long time. Deep down, I never really see myself as a lawyer (because lawyers cannot talk shit and I talk a lot of shit). There are times when I wonder how things would have changed if I had the guts to put my degree aside and pursue business and journalism and firefighting. But I also know I wouldn’t, because I have always wanted to prove to myself that I can, so I carry on. FOMO. It’s what they call it.
I haven’t travelled much this year as you’ve noticed. I have been recovering from my back injury.
Early this year, I injured myself doing weighted deep squats at the gym. It’s all very silly and my discs took it for me. There were days when I couldn’t lift my leg to wear trousers, nor bend to tie shoe laces. What lies, I know, when did you ever see me in trainers. At the peak of this silliness, I was either bed-ridden or had to power through with codeine, feeling high and sluggish and extremely helpless. Like a fat junky. Nobody likes fat junkies.
Four months in, my discs were acutely inflamed and the inflammation started to affect my nerves. I finally went for an MRI scan and found out that 4 of my joints were affected. The neurologist told me this is no big deal so I put up with the pain and went about my days. Still working. Still going out a lot. My left leg was numb most of the time and I couldn’t (still can’t) sit for longer than 15 minutes without feeling the piercing pain in my lower back. This carried on for 6 months until October, I was admitted into the hospital and had shots of steroid injected into my joints to help relief the pain. Even though the dull ache never really goes away, I have felt so much better since.
This year, instead of venturing out to far-flung places, I have found myself doing a lot of venturing inwards.
I fall in love with meditation.
Through meditation, I have learnt to observe.
I learn to observe pain and stress, instead of responding to them and letting them ruin my day. I learn to observe as thoughts come in to my head, acknowledge them and then gently let them go, even though it is often tempting to react. I learn to focus on managing instead of eliminating. I learn to not dwell in sadness, nor fuss about things that I have no control over so I don’t run around doing everything for nothing.
And amidst all this calm and stillness, I learn to really understand myself and others around me. It feels like for a long time, the water has finally calmed down, there are no ripples, and I can see what’s underneath clearly.
(This is all very Headspacey and Jon Kabat-Zinny I’ll have you know i.e. what you get for an annual subscription of £79 and reading a book that’s heavy as a brick every night before you sleep but damn it’s worth it)
You see, there is a big difference but a fine line between real sufferings and self-pity. And we are idiots who often overlook how indulgent and damaging the latter can be.
I know you’ve always told me to take things with a pinch of salt and to not give too much fucks about many things. I never listened.
But now that I do, won’t you be proud of me.
With love x