It’s silly to ask how it happened. I get the concept of time and I know how it happened. Still though, time seems to have flown since the warmth of August. Summer feels like it was mere days ago and yet somehow, we’re already in the last month of the year. It’s time to make the most of December!
It promises to be an unusual December for me this year. Where usually I’m coming to the end of a gruelling half term at work, pushing classes like my Year 11s as much as I can with both a new year and their exams looming and trying to help with Christmas preparation at home, this year is really very different. I’m recovering from heart surgery, have been off work since early November and every day seems to just revolve around my daily walk and the number of steps I can take! Like I said, unusual!
Regardless of the changes, the need to set myself some end of year goals is still very much the same as it ever was. So, what am I targeting then?
- Fitness and strength – given what most of November involved, I’m in huge need of a great deal more fitness and strength. If you’re new to my particular brand of nonsense, you’ll have missed the fact that in early November I was fitted with a pacemaker to help manage the curious rhythm that my heart had decided to adopt. If you’re a regular reader, you can’t have avoided it. Apologies for that and the fact that I’m still banging on about it. Anyway, the whole thing has left me a bit short on fitness. And good health, I suppose. Where before I coached a football team and was a regular distance runner, with a healthy level of fitness for a man of my vintage, now I’m much more akin to a little old man. Since leaving hospital, for all but the first two days at home, I’ve managed to get out and walk every day. This started out with probably no more than a few hundred steps and I’ve built from there. For the rest of December I’ll be working on upping my walking distances, while always staying close to home. However, my real goal will be to start something else, which at the moment I think will be either yoga or working with resistance bands. The trouble with both is that I still can’t really use my left hand side that well, but I have to start somewhere. I fear that it’ll be uncomfortable, perhaps even a bit painful at times, but I have to have a go. My ultimate goal is to get back to running, but I fear that may be mid-January at the very earliest.
- Wrapping – as a well-informed man in the know, I can reveal that it’s Christmas soon. And that is the kind of nugget of insight that has you reading my blog avidly, dear reader. Anyway, every year – and I’m a bit ashamed to say this – my wife becomes Santa in our house. She doesn’t command a team of elves or reindeer or anything like that, but she does get busy with the laptop searching out deals and bargains so that our kids have a wonderful Christmas when it comes to presents. She usually does the lion’s share of wrapping them all too. However, this year, with an abundance of time on my hands, I’ve vowed to do a great deal more in order to take a bit of pressure off her. My left side not working as well as I’d like – have I told you I had surgery recently? – is a problem here though, yet not as much of a problem as the fact that I’m absolutely appalling at wrapping. So, while I’m definitely vowing to help out a lot more, I can’t say that I hold out a lot of hope for this goal. What I will say is that if there’s a sellotape shortage, it could well be me that’s to blame.
- Mental preparation for going back to work – I’m going to find this tough. In early January, barring some kind of disaster, I’ll be going back to work. Physically, I think I’ll just grind this out. No problem. Mentally, I might struggle. Firstly, I need to know what work will ‘look’ like for me. I’m hoping for some kind of phased return, simply because I’m wondering if I’ll cope with just being thrown back in to teach all of my classes full time, attend every meeting, do duty, attend training etc. So, while I’m fully aware that work have been great and that I will have had over a month off, I’m really quite scared about what work holds for me. The other aspect that worries me is still mental. I fell ill in my classroom, during a lesson. I then sat in our office surrounded by friends and colleagues who did everything they could to help me while I apologised for not telling anyone how poorly I’d been. Going back means revisiting that as well as fielding who knows how many questions from who knows how many people. I also feel guilty for leaving my friends and colleagues to pick up the pieces, as well as for just not telling them and possible giving them a bit of a fright too. And I feel guilty for leaving my classes. I’m going to have to be ready for all of this.
- Work out a way to pay people back – The British Heart Foundation has always been my charity of choice. When I ran my first Great North Run as a kid I knocked on every door of our local area to ask people to sponsor me and ended up raising quite a lot of money for them. As far as I was concerned back then, their work, along with the NHS, had saved my life. I’ve sought sponsorship on many occasions since then too and even make sure that everything we take to charity shops goes to the BHF. In the last four years I’ve had two lots of surgery on my heart and I think I owe them again. So, I’m going to spend some time this month having a think about what I can do to raise more money. No doubt I’ll try to get sponsored when I eventually get back to doing 10k runs but given that I have the whole of summer off I think I’ll be able to plan something bigger too. Time for a think…
- Enjoy the festive period – simple really. In terms of my health, it’s been a tough year, but there have been a few other things that have taken their toll on us as a family too. With just short of a month to get prepared, it’d be nice if we could just relax and enjoy the day itself and the time around it with smiles on our faces
I think it’s easy to have some time in front of you and then over extend yourself with the things you’d like to get done. So, I’ve kept my goals as minimal as I can. Essentially the next few weeks just needs to be about getting better. It’d be nice to be able to go back to work and just not be out of breath so much! Nicer still to be able to think that I was as ready as I could be, having had a good Christmas.
Enjoy your December and I hope you’re all ready for the big day when it comes round! And of you have any December goals of your own, then let me know!