Saturday, September 21, 2013

This time last year.

A year isn't an arbitrary number of days, but a full earthly swing around the sun. After a particularly painful relationship breakdown, I had some great advice that I think is applicable to any major life change: the first full year, with each annual event, resets the normal and allows you to move on. Birthdays, seasons, national holidays and anniversaries. We can't help but compare them to previous years.

It does seem arbitrary though, 365 days. 'This time last year' is something I've been saying a lot. We didn't know. We didn't know that I had a brain tumour and we didn't know how that news would impact us and what it would mean. We didn't know we would have a baby. Everything is different now, and I can't articulate how changed I feel.

All along I have been marking the time passed since my surgery on the 24th October 2012. It has recently struck me that that date isn't as important than the one looming now. The day everything changed was much earlier. In fact I can't pinpoint an actual day, but a steady build up of days.

Oliver's birthday (yesterday), followed by a family weekend by the sea (today and tomorrow), then immediately to a couple of days in Poland for work. And that's where it all kicked off with what I thought was a migraine in a hotel lobby. I'd been feeling kind of terrible for a couple of months but I hadn't really noticed it creeping up on me.

The emails I sent to work explaining my absence throughout the following week are fascinating to read back, and my twitter feed gives a somewhat simplified version of events:
  • 21st Septemberdark when i leave work, dark when i get up for work. hope summer starts soon.
  • 24th September: business travel on ryanair isn't quite business class. not that i'd know.
  • 25th September: quite enjoying working in a hotel lobby today. particularly the soundtrack.
  • 25th September: a triptan, 2 pints of water, vitamin c tablets, apple juice, spoon of marmite, prawn cocktail crisps. hot water bottle. bed. die: migraine.
  • 27th September: in bed with a bag of peas on my head. is singing give peas a chance and i smell of peas. not in a good way. migraine, peas off now.
  • 1st October: love the nhs.

I can't quite explain the fascination I have for this annual comparison. I continually marvel at the difference to today, but there is something else too. Would I go back to a year ago? Would I choose a different path if I could? No. I have developed as a person and learnt a lot about myself. It's been a worthwhile journey.

But it seems an anniversary to make a note of in some way. I feel almost tearful at the thought of this time last year, and as if I keep banging on about it. As per the advice above, maybe I'll move on after this. We'll soon have been through every annual event and the new normal will have been set. Time to look forward rather than back.

(There is no button and you can't go back.)