Being disabled and ill in the ways that I am, I feel, very often, that I’m watching life happen rather than experiencing it. Now everyone likes a bit of people watching (and if you read that and claimed otherwise, liar liar pants on fire) but when that’s your life scrolling past you, strolling past the window, with all of the things you wanted to do and experience and see and taste and enjoy and hate… It’s hard to switch to.
You change the way you are going through life. You find the way you speak has changed. It goes from being “oh that’s something I really want to do”, and instead it becomes “that’s something I always wanted to do”. The past tense slips in, almost without you noticing. And it’s not even a miserable thing, it’s a reality thing.
Before I became ill, one of my aims was always a dream trip to Egypt, where I would go into all the tombs, walk around the pyramids, sail down the Nile, probably end up on a camel at some point (we’ll ignore the fact that they have NO connection to ancient times, there are some exceptions you have to make as a tourist), spend hours (days) in the museum, and lose myself completely in the wonder and amazement. This happening, at some point in my life, even if it took me 30 to save for, was a fact. It would happen. There was no question about it.
Now I know full well that it won’t. I will never do that. Any of it.
So I make do with my books when I can read them, following people online who are doing all of those things (maybe minus the camels, I think there is a novelty factor there and you don’t repeat it), I watch all the documentaries repeatedly to the point I know them word for word. I also – confession time – read all the historical fiction I can get my hands on. Yes I do. To the point where I can almost feel the heat on the back of my neck, can touch the sand, can feel the tears on my face when these wonders come in to view.
You just change your view. Being ill, and staying ill, is an on going process, and so is the way you feel about it. And that is okay.