As a person with such an unpredictable life and living in such a deep and constant state of brain fog there is a lot of unfinished stuff around me. From books and films I will never finish, to artwork I lost the mood for and food I cannot stomach to eat before it exceeds its’ expiry date. Added to this is the chronic condition known as Artists’ Mess, which any person with an inkling of artistic or creative nature knows translates into a very real, expensive a dangerous habit of starting projects and NEVER completing them. It isn’t that we cannot organise ourselves, it is that we cannot contain all our thoughts and structure them.
I really am trying to organise myself.
I have shelves, files and drawers for practically everything. Colour coding and labels go everywhere. My housemate thinks I am bad with money but I seriously have an idea of how to use everything I buy. I am not a hoarder but I am not a waster.
As a slowly drift out of the numbness that was the last few years of my life, the years overwrought and complicated by my Lupus Cerebritis I have found that I have a lot of time that I need to fill and I need to be wise how to do it. I spoke with you last about things that people like me can do to occupy themselves and that leads in to my planning as I make an attempt to organise, or re-organise my life, establishing what is viable to take back up and what I better left for a while longer yet.
Identify what you are doing and can keep doing.
While I was unwell I maintained my writing, reading and listening to music. So I can continue there. I want to bring some more regularity back in to my life, so it needs to be ramped up to maybe one definite writing session a week of at least two hours.
I dedicated fifteen minutes a night to learning German and again that is okay and will continue, yet I will not increase this. Cooking new recipes from a cookbook is exciting and I will expand my repertoire in this department, not adding more time but perhaps occasionally attempting more difficult recipes.
Following my latest seizure my doctors have been reluctant to reinstate my driver’s licence and so I am still predominantly a pedestrian. I like this but have become slack with going out, so I will have to force myself to leave the house and be more social.
Identify regular habits that have been set aside
I used to take a lot of care in my personal grooming and appearance yet so much time spent in a hospital bed, on the sofa or in my bed has left me uninspired. Mostly when I leave the house it is to go to university or the shops and this further leaves me uninspired. My hatred of the Chemo curls further deepened my reluctance to take heed in my appearance and my fluctuating weight has been a constant issue not just for my wardrobe but my mood. So I will wash my hair more and brush it daily. I will always clean my face, if I don’t feel the need for makeup. My clothes will always be appropriate, clean and flattering.
I do not feel ready, physically or emotionally to start yoga or surfing again and so I will not. Walking is enough.
Identify old promises and keep them
There are three incomplete patchwork quilts, two hand embroidered fabric cuts and cut-but-unsewn makeup bag in my sewing pile. I need a fabric cover for my heat bag. There is a kit for a bird teddy and another for a Japanese geisha doll. These should all be done up. I have a half drawn seahorse that needs to be penciled, inked and charcoaled.
I wrote a book. I have just finished typing it up (2nd draft). I need to structurally edit it myself before it goes to a literary editor (3rd draft) and a medical editor (4th draft).
In November 2016 I signed up to the Bibbulmun Track Foundation. Yes, I plan to walk the Bibbulmun Track. I have made three commitments so far and so I need to start collecting gear and planning my trip in stages.
My university semester starts in March and so I want to have read at least two textbooks by the start of it.
I want to make it clear that I do not have a timeline in mind of finishing everything except the last two before my university semester starts. I also want to note that I do not want to walk the Bibbulmun Track in one journey or over the course of one year. It is a long path and I plan to take my sweet time.
The reason I share my goals with you is to show you that it is possible to have goals with an illness. In fact, it is important for you mental health and self-concept to have goals and it is important to be able to organise them from short- to long-term goals. Yes sometimes you may feel like they are piling up and other times you may feel like you have nothing to do. This is okay. Do not stress. Just take some time out to do a crossword, jigsaw puzzle or colour in.
My buzz word here is organise.
Make a list of the things you want and need to do. Keep adding to it. But also keep crossing things off. If you have a massive task (like the Bibbulmun Track) break it down into smaller manageable stages (the Track goes town-to-town or overnight between campsites.
And did I mention I am starting the Bibbulmun Track this year?!?!