It was September 1999 when I last fully and properly stopped. I lazed in a beachside hut in Bali. Through working changes, illness, bereavement, holidays and school, the metronome has tick-tocked at varying speeds since then. Then I got the kind of illness that can’t be muddled through. A virus affecting my inner ear sent scrambled messages to my brain - I was unable to walk and unable to use my eyes, so most things bookmarking life were ruled out. Radio and audiobooks became even stronger friends.
Recovery began and gratefulness arrived in buckets. It’s before dawn. I’m sitting raised up in bed, curtains open in the dark. I have warm tea, a soft jumper, and I’m witnessing the world rise. My ears are still on full alert, my hearing has felt so sharp as other senses were depleted. I hear my little pals the birds, chirping distantly somewhere else, probably having given up on the empty offerings from my garden. (They’ll be back soon.) I hear early cars departing for work. I hear the bucket truck rolling through a few streets away and I can almost map it as it travels. It will be here soon. The light lifts imperceptibly and the moon disappears. Frost twinkles on the roof across from me. Chatters before school from the back lane.
I had been stopped. And although at one point I felt so unwell I considered I needed a kindly vet, I wonder if somebody knew the best thing for me was to press this reset button.
It’s now up to me how to step forward. How life can look versus arranging the pieces I have against a timer. What a silver lining!
My question today is this - are you trundling along on autopilot like I was or are you choosing your steps?