My friend Ivor recently told me of another set of friends who had recently retired. They were concerned that they might turn into the kind of couple that slowly vegetated into old age so they came up with a superb idea for keeping themselves young and enthusiastic.
We rather like their idea as it is sometimes difficult with the CFS to think large-scale and it is rather easy to get stuck in a routine which revolves around sleep. This strategy seems like a good way of helping with the pacing, trying new things whilst ensuring that they are manageable, not to mention thinking laterally and having something to look forward to which can help with the depression that can sometimes creep into the life of someone with CFS who always feels totally tired. It should also help HWIOO to develop a repertoire of seasonal activities which again should help with the pacing.
The plan is that you work your way through the alphabet doing something each week or every couple of weeks for the letter of the alphabet that you are on. The key is to be flexible; it could be a place or any other kind of noun for that matter, an activity, or a food etc. For example, A could be Arundel Castle, an art course, an art gallery or arts festival, apple bobbing, acorn collecting or aubergines for that matter! What we actually did yesterday which was to go to an agricultural show.
You continue through the alphabet thinking creatively on as small or large a scale as you wish. Today we went blackberry picking in order to make blackberry jelly. Having said that HWIOO returned from his blackberry picking and took himself off for a siesta so I began the blackberry jelly which is a magical process and the end product definitely counts as happiness in a jar.
Whilst I had hoped to do a chocolate making course or candle making I am quite happy to go to the cinema next week though Ben Hur could just as well have been the letter B. It would have to be said that we both discounted caving and canoeing as soon as the thought entered our heads. I don’t like confined spaces and the last time I was in a canoe I sank without trace. The Number-One-Son was mortified because I didn’t sink quietly. I squawked rather loudly, thus causing maximum embarrassment. It didn’t help that he and his father simply stepped out of the boat whilst, because I was sitting cross-legged, I couldn’t untangle myself swiftly enough to make a safe exit. Certainly I don’t think Daniel Boone would have made such a hash of it. We also decided that a cable car trip was out of the question based on the fact that HWIOO’s labyrinthitis probably wouldn’t have responded well to that particular activity – abseiling and bungee jumping were also discarded based on a similar rationale. On the other hand HWIOO was rather pleased to suggest doing one of the Sunday newspaper crosswords as this demonstrates an improvement in the brain fog situation. Two years ago he wouldn’t have been keen on the idea as he just couldn’t focus but now he’s back to doing the quick crossword.
I can’t help wondering what adventures the rest of the alphabet is going to bring.