If You Can [Walk], You Must [Walk]
THIRD TIME LUCKY
It’s my second week back in London (for the third time!) and I’m honestly having the best time. I won’t lie, I thought my days of walking, exploring, socialising and just being a 20-something in a vibrant city were over. When I first came back shortly after brain surgery last August, into a house share, I thought I was doing the right thing; immersing myself into a group of people my own age.
Feeling forced to be ‘social’ felt like the right thing to speed up my recovery. But it wasn’t the same at all. Struggling to walk, balance and see properly were huge barriers on their own, without the added pressure that came with feeling like people were wondering what had happened to me; what had happened to my face.
I wasn’t the same out-going person at all. I began to avoid social situations and avoid going anywhere where I’d have to meet someone new – which is beyond opposite to how I was before. So truth be told, I came back at the start of July with a bit of an acceptance that maybe my London days were just coming to an early end and that I wouldn’t be here for much longer.
It’s only whilst being back in the same environment that I can really see what a difference there has been. It’s very easy to keep pushing forwards so much so that you rarely stop to see how far you have come and the journey you’ve been on. And so the other night, I decided to reflect on my journal entries from around this time last year.
I was honestly shocked at what I read and have since been walking an insane amount. Partly because it’s super sunny and kind of grim on the tubes at the moment. But mostly because of one of the entries I read from last summer.
I honestly just feel so overwhelmed with how amazing and yet how simple that ability to walk freely really is.
STRUGGLING TO WALK
I remember so clearly being stood on the corner of my road unable to walk much further, relying heavily on my ‘steady stick’ (a.k.a. umbrella), struggling with my balance and eventually having to turn back and head home realising I was defeated by the relatively short distance to my new doctors.
Reading that back spurred me on to just walk. Some days I’ve had somewhere to be. Other days I’ve just walked simply because I can. Every now and again I still lose my footing or my balance and wobble. My right leg is still weak and sometimes stiffens a little as I walk. But mostly, I realise I now walk freely and fast.
And when I think back to the daily physio sessions I had where I needed assistance on my shoulders, or had to re-learn how to use the escalators, I honestly just feel so overwhelmed with how amazing and yet how simple that ability to walk freely really is.
BE GRATEFUL FOR WHERE YOU ARE
A lot of the times, it can be so easy to forget to stop and realise how far we have come. But I urge you to look back just for a moment. It never seems a lot at the time but, I’ve said it before and will say it again, that 1% of daily progress really does add up.
And so going back, I have had the best, most sociable weekend to date. I’ve walked miles, socialised in big groups, met incredible people and finally feel a bit more ‘normal.’ Even as I’m typing this, they just sound like ridiculous things to even make a song and dance about. But truthfully, I just didn’t ever expect that I’d be able to experience these mundane things again.
Whatever it is, keep going. Things do get better and always remember: if you can, you must.