Three years ago on the 27th December Lynn’s car veered off the highway, took flight, crashed through a signboard and landed in a crumpled heap on the grass bank. Lynn* sustained some physical injuries as well as a severe head injury. She has just received her final medico-legal report stating that she will never be able to work again, whether full or part time.
Lynn is one of the people I work with through Headway. Over the years she has spoken about returning to her previous employment. When she told me about the report I thought she was unhappy. But the report wasn’t the cause of her mood. She was feeling down because she can’t afford to host a Xmas dinner for her family. Lynn then went on to say, “I am happy not working. I am enjoying my life. Before the accident I put work before everything else in my life. Even if a friend from out of town came to stay with me I would first take time to finish off work on my laptop. Now I belong to a bible study group, I read and I talk to my neighbours. I thank God that he stopped me, took me back to being like a 7 year old and gave me the chance to rebuild myself differently.”
Perhaps Lynn is right. Her life was way out of balance and it needed the accident to bring about change. If so it was a drastic way of doing it.
Is your balance between ‘me’ time, ‘us’ time and ‘work’ time appropriate for this stage of your life?
Do you have opportunities for creative activities – tinkering with a motor bike, making a funny face out of twigs and leaves, laying the table with a special touch?
Do you make time for physical exertion – a walk, stretches, a horse ride or squash game?
Is there soul food in your life – things that makes you feel uplifted, energized, full and happy inside?
Are there little times in the day when you empty your mind of “doing stuff” and get in touch with the real you?
Do you laugh often – with friends, reading or watching a movie?
When you include these things in your life you reenergise yourself.
Have you wondered how some people have much more energy than others? The energetic ones have found the way to harness their physical, mental, spiritual and emotional energies. They ensure that each one gets enough exercise plus a little extra, a short break and then more exercise - interval training to generate more energy.
A year end is a great time to reflect on our lives.
A great opportunity to make choices, to make changes.
Build into your day little 5, 10, 15 minute pockets of time for the things you need to do to give all four ‘muscles’ their exercise. Maybe 5 minutes sitting on the stoep watching the sky lighten and listening to the birds before work, 10 minutes walking up and down a few flights of stairs with a colleague at mid morning, 20 minutes reading a book whilst eating a salad at lunchtime, 5 minutes of desk stretches in the afternoon, a quick call to a friend on your way home (use a hands free) and then invite your teenager to walk the dog with you.
Take control of your life. Plan it and live it the way you wish to.
(*Name changed to protect privacy)
Originally written as a BBI in Dec 2007