Monthly link-up – Christmas, photos, finances and fast to slow

For the third time I’m joining in with A Chronic Voice’s monthly link-up, where Sheryl gives us some writing prompts and we gratefully use these to chunter away! Please check out her website to get involved and/or read other people’s blogs.


Perspective is always an interesting thing. I put up photos of my life living on a narrow boat on Facebook and often feel it’s that classic ‘isn’t my life great’; smiling faces project only joy with clearly no room for anything else. At the time I put them up and have some awareness of how ill I’ve also been in the two weeks since I last did this. However, looking back at the last four months, and looking at the photos I’m amazed at how little I remember of the bad days. It does serve a purpose of capturing all the really positive times I’ve experienced – all the things I’ve done or places I’ve seen – even if I’ve felt like crap at the time. This capturing means I feel like I’m still achieving something.


When I went from full time to half time hours due to a sharp increase in migraine symptoms, I thought finances would be more difficult than they were. In fact I quite quickly adapted to spending less, and enjoyed flitting around charity shops or buying from eBay. Going from working 20 hours a week to four to five hours a month, however, has been a bit more hard core. Our combined income is less than my first full time salary so naturally life has had to change more dramatically. Living on a boat makes some things somewhat easier; I’m not tempted to order so much online and there isn’t always a corner shop selling chocolate pastry twists to tempt my taste buds. Other challenges such as farms making and selling pies on the side of the canal provide other temptations…  


Last Christmas was the eye of the storm for me with my migraine condition. For the first time – to seek some control – I created a spreadsheet with details of what I was giving each person; my Mum, Dad, sister, sister’s partner, my partner, secret santa at work, spare gifts for neighbours just in case they gave me something…I’m starting to feel stressed just thinking about it again! I was making as many of these as possible due to the above financial situation, which just added to the multitude of things to remember; limoncello that had to be stirred every few days, chocolate truffles made and then put in the freezer, and various cupboards around the house with other crafts squirrelled away. 

This year – and perhaps forever – I’m taking away the need to control by deciding not to control any of it: I’m not going to give or receive Christmas presents. I feel lighter, letting go of the need to control which I thought I didn’t have any choice but to do.


With chronic illness comes many exchanges; you exchange a social life for being a hermit; jobs for jobless; active to inactive; fast to slow. Exchanging life in a city, in a house, to a boat – mostly – in the countryside you may think increases the hermit life. Perhaps it does. In city life this felt very forced upon me though; I was hair-standing-on-end aware of what I was missing out on socialising. This exchange has been a conscious choice, and where there is choice, there is power, and with that some acceptance and peace. 


I missed out on July’s link-up so felt motivated to ensure I joined in this time! Feeling like I’m part of a bigger group of people, as well as making the folk who read my blog anyway, aware of this wider community is hugely motivating to me. Thank you Sheryl and thank you link-up peeps 🙂  

Out in the sticks

Not stuck within bricks

Soft green hermit

A comforting fit

The picture-perfect

I snap to select

Mindful that sorrow

Can change tomorrow

I hope you’ve enjoyed reading my blog. I’d love to hear if you’ve had any similar reflections/experiences. Subscribe yourself to get emails when i write more blogs (roughly every two weeks)


  1. I love your point about FB and capturing those moments. I have a gratitude app on my phone where i post one pic a day of something that made me feel grateful – similar outcome. Such an uplifting thing to look back on – a reminder in the dark days there have been good times too

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thanks for joining us, Naomi 🙂 I love to hear about your boat life…it’s really different from mine and the average person’s, especially for a person with chronic illness! Interesting to hear how you can save so much with the reduction in online shopping, ha (*guilty*)! And beautiful words about how conscious choice has power, even if it’s painful. x


    1. Ha yes well some stuff can get delivered to parents but it definitely makes you think a bit first! Think it’s easy with illness to buy things online to ‘make you feel better’ – I’m not talking actual aids, more like nice stuff. No space for this also helps! I definitely think boat life isn’t for all chronic illness peeps but if you’re someone who’s working but so ill, but can’t afford not to work, it might be just the ticket…


  3. Yes, we do capture the good times far more than the bad, who wants to remember those! It may seem like you have given up a lot but you have gained so much too. I’ve always wanted to live in the slow lane (on a boat even – me and my ex spent months looking for a boat at one point.)

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I think it’s amazing how quickly we can adapt a less materialistic life when faced with the challenge. I think it’s an approach many more of us should be implementing regardless of where we live. But those pies sound too delicious and dreamy to pass up on the side of the canal you have to draw a line somewhere lol. Lovely to read your perspective Naomi I hope you have a less pain days and very thrifty August ahead.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Agreed! Having too much stuff is a bad idea for many reasons.
      The pies were amazing 😀 happy to have one of them over a bottle of wine any day…
      Thanks for reading and commenting 🙂


  5. Hello again Naomi, I loved your perspective on capturing – yes, I think we all have a tendency to capture only the good moments in life but I too also look back at the good times such as holiday pics and even though I felt rubbish and was suffering from numerous symptoms I still managed to achieve so much. Think these moments are nice to look back on to see how far we’ve come! I also love reading your perspective on living on your canal boat, it really offers something completely different!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Cheers me dears! Yes I was reminded just last night, looking out on the quiet water with the evening sun how lucky I am. I never felt quite like that living in a house but I think other people have different things to feel like that about


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s