How I ever found time to go out to work is a mystery to me.
Time simply races by and, my best laid plans frequently fail to come to fruition owing to an insufficiency of waking hours in the day. No doubt some of this is due to my lack of stamina, not so drastically reduced as it was a few years ago but, stamina levels are nowhere near those I took for granted before succumbing to M.E. in 2003. Mind you, the M.E. put paid to my ability to work and, even prevented me from venturing more than a few yards from my own front door for a considerable period of time.
Reaching retirement age, and eligibility for the State Pension, seemed to produce an energy surge for me, elated by the experience of being free from the guilt that all incapacitated people are forced to feel when they have to resort to “benefits”. Politicians and media all paint a picture of tens of thousands of people in receipt of benefits being lazy scroungers but, the reality I experienced was one of enforced degradation in the way one was treated by the DWP and its medical agents; hard work at a time when ones physical and emotional stamina reserves are at an all time low, to say nothing of the excruciating pain and general dis-orientation.
Sorry I’m getting sidetracked, in any case that stamina surge, referred to at the beginning of the previous paragraph, didn’t last for long. Perhaps the initial mystery (opening sentence refers) only refers to people in less than prime health. I am extremely fortunate in that, shortly before becoming incapacitated, I’d had my arm twisted to go on t’internet. Being on-line proved a lifeline; unable to participate in the socializing, which had up that point been a mainstay of my being, I discovered the value of cyber friends who proved more loyal than some of the real world ones once my illness struck. Eventually, I found myself totally absorbed in this alternative world, barely a day could go by, physical and emotional stamina permitting, without at least a couple of hours “surfing”. Another advantage of surfing was the availability of bite size gobbets of information, on sundry topics, which fell within my concentration span; formerly an avid reader, the illness had taken away my ability to concentrate for any sustained period – measured in minutes rather than the previous hours.
Having once been an enthusiastic amateur photographer, the advent of affordable digital photography was another lifeline; no more worries about the cost of films and processing, I could now snap away to my hearts content both in the house and the garden and, swiftly edit the results. Hard copy prints were no longer of any great importance, the creativity was all.
Throughout this period, as stamina reserves fluctuatingly improved, I was able to allow the artistic muse back into my life and, on occasion was able to wrestle a new poem or painting into life. In more recent times, an increasing amount of time has been spent in the garden, generally pottering about and developing the wildlife garden end.
Painting, writing, photography, gardening, and even a bit of cooking, each makes its own demands on one’s time. I really don’t know how I ever found time to fit in any formal employment.