It is hot, damn hot and I am sitting in the early morning sunshine at a Conference Centre just outside the M25, the crumbs of my breakfast bacon and sausage buttie starting to cast small shadows on the white plate. I am sitting in the middle of a dried out, bleached, grassy area. I have had about four hours sleep but that’s probably four hours more than the girls sitting nearby, picking apart the gossip from their friend’s wedding reception that only finished here a couple of hours ago.
As I sit here, soaking up the sun before it becomes too much for me, I am contemplating other conference centers, other times, other lives. I’m here for a weekend about managing Parkinson’s. But my memories are of weeks where I burnt the candle at both ends, worked hard in the daytime and then partied equally as hard in the evenings. Mornings where I would drag myself out of bed and sit, bleary eyed, while a hungover colleague took us through the intricacies of Lichtenstein dual partnership holding structures.
And it strikes me that it’s very easy to get a bit complacent about what we have in this life. Remembering the ‘old days’ brings into sharp relief for me how unhappy I must have been then compared to these days. Now I have a home life where somebody actually cares whether I’ve had a good day, been doing interesting things, achieved my goals. We talk about what we have been thinking, films we’ve seen, books we are reading/listening to. We don’t drink a whole bottle of wine in one go. I don’t feel that awful despair at my future with this disease. Life is much much better. B
ut I am guilty of taking it a bit for granted. Quiet moderation is not as shouty as high drama, by definition. But I’d like to raise a very sensible cup of green tea in its honor. It’s taken me a very long time to appreciate it. Cheers.
PS. The picture is a watercolour sketch painted during the weekend.