Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a harder battle. - Plato
If you had bumped into me this week, that would most certainly have been true. This was venturing into the running for worst week of the year. The details would bore even the closest of friends and family but let me give you a tapas-style sampling of a few of the things on my plate:
- Moving day is in, what is now less than, one week
- London is hard when you have to be up at 5am to get there
- Despite promises otherwise my boots were NOT ready, resulting in an unnecessary half-hour walk in high heels
- Ear infections strike like a ninja and leave you flat on your back for at least 24 hours
- Apparently I have holes in my retinas, which required entirely unexpected laser eye surgery on Friday. It hurt.
Writing about yourself and your life is a tricky line to walk. I never want this blog to be a journal, but at the same time you can't know or see anything without the filter of you in front of it. Our perception of the world, our thoughts and reactions and our ideas are just that: ours.
Which is why I ask you to bare with me and my woes. Despite what is seems, it's not all about me.
Or maybe it is?
Quite frankly I cannot be the only person that has experienced one of those weeks that pushes you to the limit of your ability to cope. I cannot be the only person to lie there, the world spinning (whether through medical ailment or mental fug) thinking, 'I know I have no other choice, but still, powering on somehow just doesn't seem possible.'
If I am the only person to experience this then apologies, this post really is all about me. But I doubt it.
Perspective is what makes little things quite big
The thing is, if all the ailments and discombobulations can add up to something so monolithic, surely it is equally true of all the little lovelies and unexpected blisses that trip us up too?
Last night I ate a delicious, home-cooked dinner that was made with love. This morning I walked in the autumn sunshine and stopped to simply watch the ducks. It seems there was quite a drama afoot (some kind of Jets and Sharks scenario as far as I could tell). Then I had a cup of tea and laughed.
Minuscule moments in themselves I will admit, but a world away from the apparently increasingly malevolent machinations of the universe that had been beating me up of late. And viewed at such a distance those big things seemed a little smaller, and those small smiles were surprisingly sizeable up close.
Same scene, different setting
And so I finally walked back home to my boxes and lists - to the same impending efforts and affronts. But having spent a little time a world away, where everything looked so different, the week that was seemed somehow altered:
- This time next week I will finally be in a place that I can call my own: and it is beautiful, and I feel overwhelmingly proud
- I got to see Steve Ballmer in Q&A in person and had a rare and lovely chance to catch up with colleagues face to face
- If those boots had been ready I might never have had a chance encounter that led to coffee and baklava
- Well, at least I got a good 12 hours sleep
- Better they found them now by chance and fixed me up fast than I get a detached retina down the line
No man is an island
There is a little more to say. Look on the bright side, and change your perspective is all very well and good, but when you're at the end of your worst week yet, they tend to all blur into pointless platitudes. And this is when you have to realise that accepting help does not mean admitting defeat. It doesn't even mean you have any less to do.
It is extremely hard to travel to a world away on your own. Not impossible for sure, but hard. Accepting help does not mean pulling someone to where you are, or being led away to worlds that are not your own. It simply means noticing, that more often than not, there is already someone there, holding out their calm and steady hand, to set you right ways up so that you can continue to lead yourself to where you need to be.