Here I am again with a monthly link up with A Chronic Voice. These prompts often ‘allow’ me to write a few things that don’t make a whole blog, but feel good to talk about.
For me, finances have always been something I’ve kept a fairly close eye on. However, having reduced my working hours from full time to half, to 4-5 hours a month – thanks to chronic migraine – the financial implications have been high. There’s something in me that innately thrives on a constrained budget and I’m lucky that the money I have coming in is always – just – enough. It’s enough to keep the narrow boat I live on looking nice, and it’s enough to eat lots of delicious, (mostly) nutritious food. It’s rarely enough for going out to eat or drink and I am dreading the day when I need new glasses or my laptop breaks. I feel constantly privileged in the money I do have, knowing full well that others scrape together money for the basic needs I easily cover.
I’m making some effort to ‘attend’ to my writing at the moment. I’m reading ‘eats, shoots and leaves’ with the hope that it will ensure correct punctuation but the more I read it the more I either get distracted with laughing (massive nerd alert) or by the fact that knowing the ‘right’ answer isn’t always that straightforward. I’ve got an email to remind me about a free online course I could do, and that website also has some paid for ones I may look into if the above budget allows. I’m not giving myself too much pressure around any of this; just like this blog I do as and when I can, but like many others out there, I have found attending to writing very therapeutic.
We (well OK my partner, really) have done some work inside the boat which has included taking out a very uncomfortable built-in seating area and instead, having a free standing table and chairs (£15 for the table from a charity shop, chairs donated, tick for good finances!). The chairs are much better for my posture, the previous set up giving me more pain on top of the regular stuff. There are also two bookshelves by the table where I’ve now indulged in organising our books. I can now pluck a title off the shelf to read where we sit, rather than far enough away (impressive that this is a barrier, in such a small space as a narrow boat!!) to put me off bothering. My organising means more flicking through recipe books, choosing my next bedtime fiction, or picking to colour in for time, and I really appreciate the opportunities for self care this gives me.
After a summer of travelling to Wales on our narrow boat, I feel like we’re now plunging into ‘real life’: We’re going to cruise around in an area, stay longer in each spot and hopefully not feel like we’re rushing around so much. Many people take a lot shorter time to do the Wales trip than we did, but to me it felt like we were always on the move and for folk like me with energy limiting conditions, it can get tough. The area we’re in now has very few locks so it means my partner can cruise along while I bring him hot drinks to try to keep him warm in these colder months, and I can join him or relax inside depending on what I most need that day. After the big plunge earlier this year of moving onto the boat, this feels like a settling plunge, like a rushing river that’s just entered the calm lake.
The older I get, I become both more certain and yet less steadfast in my opinions. There are things I thought I would do, like having children, or not do, like drive a one mile trip because I could walk or cycle it, that have had to change. I become more open to the fact there’s so much I don’t know; from fake news making it difficult to ratify what I hear or read, to just becoming aware of how small a dot I am on this planet and the in the universe. All I know is that we know more together, rather than apart (which is partly why I really like these link ups!).