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Living Life in the Slow Lane

25/07/2013 12:29 | Updated 23 September 2013

Parkinson's disease dictates the pace of my life whether I like it or not. I used to be a master of multi-tasking, inevitably doing several things at the same time. Like grease lightening in the kitchen, I could whip up a three course meal as quick as a flash, that British Chef Jamie Oliver would be proud of. Before I was forced to retire from work several years ago due to my declining health, like millions of women around the world I understood the necessity and applied "time management" to my life. Being a wife, mother and working full time, takes some juggling, but I succeeded in caring for my family and maintaining a home in an organised fashion, adhering to schedules, not dissimilar to a military operation everything ran smoothly. Back then I never gave all this a second thought. I just got on with life, I didn't have the time to stop and think.

Of course today is quite a different story - living with Parkinson's disease, I have left the rat race far behind me. I have only one speed now and that speed is "slow". So what is it like living life in the slow lane you may ask? It's not what I had expected or planned, that's for sure, but things could be worse I continue to tell myself. They say that if everyone put their troubles in a bag in the middle of a room, each person would end up taking back their own bag of troubles, rather than someone else's. You simply have to look around you and you'll always find someone worse off than yourself. So I count my blessings and concentrate on what I have, and don't dwell on the things I can no longer do.

Life is fragile and very short, often circumstances beyond our control, make us change direction along the way. I view each day as precious, not wasting a moment. If you have a dream, don't put it on hold; it's easy to find excuses such as waiting till the children are grown or you'll have more time on your hands once you retire. I highly recommend seizing the moment now and pursue your dreams. I have lost two brothers, one due to a tragic accident, another to ill health (Gaucher and Parkinson's disease) and although some years have passed, the grief of losing siblings at too young an age, remains with me like a sore gash that will not heal. Losing loved ones made me painfully aware of what is important and the things that matter most. Unconsciously my husband and I have made the decision to enjoy everything whilst we can, and not wait till later in life, for who knows if there will be a "later". We embrace life now, live in the moment, not worrying about what we don't have, but enjoying the things we have been blessed with. If you have a dream or goals you can realistically achieve, don't postpone or hesitate, for "time and tide wait for no man".

Sharing much in common with a fellow Parkinson's sufferer, who has turned into a good friend, referred to our lives as "living in the slow lane", and this line encapsulated the situation precisely. Everything seems to have slowed down; I eat slower, drink slower, and move slower. I think if I move any slower, I'd be going backwards. All simple daily tasks take longer to perform. Getting out of bed, showering, dressing, having breakfast; all of which are done slowly. I hear the phone ring, but by the time I get to it, the person on the other end has run out of patience and hung up. The other day I thought I had time to bake a cake before a girl friend arrived for tea, but my timing was way out and she arrived whilst I was still fussing with flour and eggs. Although there is a thin lip on the edge of my kitchen counter top to stop things rolling onto the floor, I still managed to drop a raw egg. Fortunately my dog who does a great impersonation of a vacuum cleaner on four legs, happily licked up the mess I had made. I find I have to re-calculate time for everything now, realising I am no longer Speedy Gonzales. Achieving small goals at home each day is what living in the slow lane is all about.

I've heard it said on many occasion, that God never gives us more than we can carry. Well he must have assumed I can carry quite a load, I just hope he doesn't have anything more up his sleeve!

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