Life is Full, but not Busy

On the Sunday morning before the new lecture term started, we were standing around after church, with the normal cup of coffee in hand, catching up. One mum turned to me and made the observation that I must be incredibly busy with only three more teaching weeks left in the semester. I had to think for a moment. Actually, I wasn’t busy. I was determined not to allow myself to be controlled by the avalanche of work tasks that I was struggling to hold at bay. Life was full, but not busy. Life was full with lectures, preparation, meetings, marking, trying to figure out how to lecture without a walking stick and a lecture stand while the lecture was being recorded, more meetings with students after they had received back their assessments, and all the while trying to finish the semester well. Life was full with outpatient appointments – with Physios, new neurologists and GPs, and with surgeons. Those last three weeks of semester didn’t have much space for the extras, like keeping up with this blog, but there was still light in the shade; there was still time given to good friends, to reading a novel in english rather than in french or german. Life was full, that’s all.

During those three weeks, I fell behind publishing posts by about six weeks. I knew that my draft folder was full with posts willing to be read, edited, and to be made public. And I could make the excuse that I couldn’t schedule the blog as a priority, that it seemed extravagant with other writing projects needing to be written or marking to be done. But that wasn’t it. I still chose what to do with my time. I stopped posting, and I even stopped writing, because during those three weeks, as days rolled into each other, and as weeks blurred into the next, progress plateaued. I could see that I was getting physically stronger, but my back was still weak, the sensation that my back was about to break not going away. During those three weeks, I found myself getting distracted, watching pedestrians walk ahead of me. I caught myself becoming envious of how easily they were walking, how they seem to so lithely put one foot in front of the other without much thought. Every step for me still takes concentration and energy just to keep going. And as I watch people overtake me, I catch myself willing my body to walk normally, but my legs don’t remember how. So I stopped posting, I stopped writing. My writing plateaued out too. But I’m not someone who can leave something unfinished, and I knew that I should keep writing, to keep telling this story now that I have started. So I picked my pen back up, so to speak. And the first line I wrote was, ‘Life was full, but not busy.’