As I have mentioned before I like to use the festive period as a time for reflection. A quiet time when I can review the past year, what was good and what wasn’t, and what I might like to do with my time going forward. This will be the first time, I have little physical treatment in front of me, although I do have issues caused from the regular treatment, such as problems with my eyes and some dental work required, so I will still have much to do, to get myself in working order!
2014 was my busiest year yet, and I was invited to do numerous key health presentations, both national and international, and I went to many important meetings to discuss how we can improve things for people affected by cancer. I also won several awards, the highlight being the UK Health Blogger Of The Year, in London, which was a fabulous experience. Finishing the year with two invitations to Downing St was an incredible way to end my working year, and certainly a good time to draw breath.
This coming year is a big year for my family too. My youngest son is getting married in February, and turns 30 soon, my wife has a big birthday later in the year, so plenty there to keep me busy! Also I will still be at the hospital at least once or twice a month for routine work, so will not be bored. My question is what to do re my cancer work in the New Year? Most people were of the opinion I was doing too much, and I agree that was the case, but whilst reflecting, what I have done has been incredible, and would not have happened, if I hadn’t pushed myself. But things feel different now, and I don’t know why.
I am a great believer in things happening for a reason, and even during my working life opportunities have arisen at times when I feel I have reached a cross road, and that is the stage I feel I have reached now! My feeling is that I cannot better what happened for me last year, but I am always looking to improve, which will frustrate me if I can’t. For the last seven and a half years, I have spent my time, not only fighting for my own life, but battling organisations in my quest for improvement in cancer support services. This work together with running my site, has dominated my life for so long, and I feel that it is time for some changes!
My first is that I will no longer be writing weekly for this site, I have written regularly for nearly three years, and it is extremely fulfilling, but very time consuming. It was fine whilst I was hospitalised, but now I am not, I want to consider new opportunities, and will need time for that. There is a lot more that can be done, but I have reached my optimum capacity, and is not something that can be easily delegated to someone else. It will still be the focal point of what I am doing, but I need to spend more time away from the computer.
When I was working I was used to very tight deadlines, and that naturally followed me into my cancer work. But during recent weeks I have also enjoyed the freedom I have had to go out with friends, read, and listen to music, whenever I wanted. So the time in front of me in the coming year is looking inviting. There is no doubt I will still be doing a lot of my old work, once everyone returns from their break, and finds out in which direction they are heading, but only what fits now with my personal goals.
Many people have suggested that it might be a good thing for my personal health to not be so involved in the work I am doing, but my feeling is that I have come too far, not just for myself, but for many people around the world, to stop now. So much has improved, and we have the ears of many influential people now, it feels that my job is not done yet, but maybe I can be more effective working differently? Again, something I will need time to explore.
But like most major decisions it’s not all about me. During the holidays I have received some extremely moving messages from people who are reading my work, and are feeling less isolated now. We get new readers from around the world daily, and we have an incredible supportive community. So for the first time in many years I have choices to make, and as we all know that’s when we find things difficult. With routine, you know where you are, but when that is gone, you are outside your comfort zone, and self doubt starts creeping in.
I can honestly say that I am looking forward to this next stage of my life! It will be a fabulous year for the Lewis Family, with lots of good stuff happening, and I feel that taking a slight step backwards in my work, will help me find what I am searching for. This time I am relying on life showing me the right direction, and I hope it doesn’t let me down!
Have you reflected on last year, and if so what did you make of it? Are you able to plan anything in the coming year, or don’t like making plans? As always please feel free to share your thoughts and experiences below. It really is a fabulous resource for others to learn from. Happy New Year everyone!
I am an official support partner of the Grove Hotel in Bournemouth. The only hotel in the UK specifically for people affected by cancer and other life limiting conditions.