Time, happiness and recovery

“If only you could work 20 or 30%”, my friend told me. As if work was the solution. As if I was unhappy being sick. It made me ponder.

She is not the first person to wish me a quick recovery, or wanting to get me back to ordinary life, back to the crazy A4 life as soon as possible. Some even, felt so sorry for me, that it made me feel sad on their behalf, that I had to leave the conversation as soon as possible.

Illness is not just positive, after all you are not 100%, but I’ve learnt so much about life in these past ten months, that I wouldn’t change it for the world. I have spent a lot of effort on keeping a positive attitude. Since I have been absolutely convinced from the start that I would fully recover, it hasn’t been too bad.

Although, it seems every possible trauma from my past, any imbalanced relationship or any issues I may have had, have popped up and demanded me to step up and change my reaction. It’s as is I have been force to take loving care of myself rather than feeling powerless and frustrated. This change has not been easy as it means loss may be a consequence of my actions. But I’m happy to accept loss if that is what it takes for me to be happy.

There have been days when I have been unhappy as I’m trying to process old emotions and issues I have previously avoided. I have also been impatient and had glimpses of: what if I have a permanent brain injury and will never be able to read again?, and I can tell you, no matter how positive you are, meeting a person who feels bad for you or wants to talk about your illness, well, it doesn’t necessarily help. I certainly found I want to participate in life as a person who happens to be ill rather than the ill person. Meaning I have found it necessary to focus and talk about other things. In fact, I don’t really want to talk about concussion when I meet people, but I find they are curious and have questions. That is understandable, but it has not always been helpful when I have struggled to keep my head above water, especially since my brain hasn’t functioned normally. Whoever said not to talk about illness, was right, I think. But it’s an art not talking about the elephant in the room and still process it at the same time. I hope I will find a way to master that art though.

Let me get back to time and this rush to recover: I understand why society wants me to recover as soon as possible. I want the same thing. But why?  What’s the rush? Why am I so keen to run from this moment? I’ve concluded I’m trying to escape from myself, and that’s my most important task at the moment: figuring out me, stop running away and to find happiness again. I’m prepared to take the time it takes. If there is one thing I’ve understood, or am understanding, it is that life unfolds as it does, and that I cannot control or decide when I’m going to recover.

I can’t go to the shop and buy a recovery package with a set date.

No, instead I have to accept that this is going to take the time mother nature decides is proper. And through this process I have realised that money doesn’t matter. Time matters.

The only thing we have is time: the now, and we have to make the most of it.

In the end, if you arrive too late for a meeting, if you file your report too late, or if you can’t attend that party: is it a crisis? Hardly. It may seem important right now, but in the end, it doesn’t matter. What matters is the people you meet in your life, the meaning you create, the love you give to others. So working 20 or 30% won’t fix me, although being well enough to run again will make me happy, it’s not what creates my happiness. That’s my inner thoughts and emotions, and we have them regardless of whether we are ill or not. So there is no rush to get anywhere. It’s enough to be here and now.

Author: Elisabeth Kolstad

I am a kundalini yoga teacher and writer in Bergen, Norway.

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