Month +29: Crimbo Limbo

I’m really not sure what to make of 2022. It’s been an odd one. One moment it was 40 degrees in England, and the next they were playing Sir Cliff in Marks and Spencer and selling Christmas themed party dips. Now we have arrived in Crimbo Limbo (that strange time between Christmas and New Year where no-one knows what time or day it is) and as suddenly as everything reached a crescendo of festive chaos, it’s over.

I missed my blog last month due to an insanely packed schedule and an untimely bout of illness. I’m sorry. It was only a tummy bug of some sort, but due to my anti-rejection medication being time critical, along with the associated risk of organ rejection, I had to take a trip to hospital to make sure my meds were still working as they should. Thankfully, after much probulating, I was given a clean bill of health and have made a full recovery (God bless the NHS) but it served to underline how precarious the life of a transplant patient can be, with even the most routine of illnesses.

At this time of year, winter illness is a constant worry for those of us with organ transplants. As the leaves fall from the trees around us, the instances of winter flu start to climb. Without much sunlight, we run low on Vitamin D, and our already depleted immune systems take another battering. Along with the seasons, we find ourselves in a new state of limbo, where we’re seen as well enough to have as much expected of us as able-bodied people, but sick enough to need 10 medications, a whim, and a prayer to be able to do so. Nevertheless, we keep going, and as the cold of winter bites, I tried to keep myself mentally sharp by asking myself tough questions, like “what happened yesterday?” and “why the hell did I walk into the kitchen?”.

My marathon training has not yet hit the pace or consistency that I am aiming for, but I’m on the right track. I know from experience that a marathon is no mean feat, and that there’s a fine line between doing enough training and overdoing it completely. I’m very conscious that I’m tired as it is, and that I really don’t want to get injured. I’ve also noticed that as I get older, I have a habit of suffering ever more frequent episodes of increasingly humiliating micro-injuries: How did you hurt your neck? I slept funny; I was driving and yawned while checking my blind spot; I drank a glass of water too hard; and so on. I’m sure many of you can relate. Thankfully, I am currently injury free, so it’s full speed ahead. I have a 16-week training plan to follow that will see me peak on race day, April 23rd 2023.

After withdrawing from last years event I had hoped to be further into my training programme by now. When things don’t work out the way I planned, I’m in the habit of telling myself that I should have just tried harder. But I know that I expect too much of myself, and that very few things in life are that black and white. It’s this kind of all-or-nothing mindset that distorts our perceptions of ourselves, and is an unconscious way of avoiding larger personal truths. I’m trying to learn how to spot when I’m thinking in extremes, and to see the nuance, complexity and contradictions that define us as individuals. Running myself ragged as a badge of honour is no longer for me, and the longer we entertain what’s not for us, the longer we postpone what is.

A few days ago it was the winter solstice, the point at which we experience the standstill of the earth, a shift of direction, and the light of the Sun begins a new solar cycle. And now we’re in Crimbo Limbo, when we don’t know when to put the bins out, or if the Co-op is open. Many people use this time to draw a line and make a new start, but for me it is an opportune time to get some rest, to offer gratitude, and to recuperate with the promise of spring to come. As I’ve said in previous years, I’m not one for resolutions, but we can be resolute in our convictions. Perhaps the end of 2022 is not about starting something new, but putting some old ways of thinking to bed.

Happy New Year peeps.



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