Clive and Scarlet (car and frame) are a huge part of my life. I spend most of my days with them and they help me make the most of my time. They help me attend physio sessions, gym, work, social events, etc. And I am extremely thankful to them. But I am also pretty angry at them too.
Ever since I was a little girl I knew it was important to get out of the house and be with people, either at their houses or with a youth movement or parties. It was considered normal to have friends and go out. I guess I did have friends – not many, but some. I went to their houses and their parties. I enjoyed some of this but a lot of the time it was hard.
It was embedded into my head that going out meant you had a life. If you didn’t go out then you were a loser (harsh, I know, but I think it’s true).
So before getting Clive and Scarlet I didn’t get out much and doing one activity per day was what I usually did. I made those events into a big deal and getting a taxi or taking a tram took a lot of time, but in really it wasn’t much and I didn’t find it satisfying. I felt like my quality of life wasn’t that great.
When Clive came into my life things changed. I was able to throw Scarlet onto the backseat (have you checked out my muscles lately?) and get onto the road. After gym I would take myself out for a second breakfast or meet friends for coffee. I would visit my grandparents and take them out for a drive to the beach and we would sit in a café and watch the water.
I was out there and loving it.
Lately I’ve been attending the gym twice a week along with the physio and on those days I may have other appointments and I would meet someone in between. And I have to admit, it makes me feel good because I am out seeing people and accessing the community. I’m not stuck at home and I’m not doing one thing per day. “I have a life.”
I think people with disabilities push themselves. Some of my clients and other disabled people within the disability community make so many commitments that often they can’t attend everything or they forget about something. Do you think they are trying to prove the same thing as me?
It’s great that I’m out there and it’s wonderful that my clients are out there too. But I received a call from one the other day who informed me that he can’t volunteer for me any more because he’s pushed himself too much. His body is run down and he needs a break.
After having this conversation it made me realise that I may be doing the same thing. It also made me realise how important it is to take care of yourself.
So what if you or I have a “life”. Isn’t it more important to enjoy it than be exhausted?
Slow down, everyone – enjoy the small things.