School, it is the days in your life that you feel drag. They seem endless yet in the grand schemes of things they are only a short chapter of our lives yet sometimes the most impactful.
I was lucky in the sense that my whole school career was based at one school - Kirkham Grammar. I didn't change or move around to various schools. My school days were full of blurry chlorine eyes, aching hands, deep thinking, a balancing act and far from straight forward but I wouldn't have it any other way. Those days, experiences, the people I met all built me into the character I am today ( good or bad - I hope good but that's for you all to decide. )
There were many times I dreaded school ( doesn't everyone ) I was a normal child and teenager after all but I NEVER missed a day unless I was REALLY poorly, my homework was always done on time and I dedicated all my time and energies to it and school lunches were the best part of the day.
At the time it was hard to really truly be grateful for the memories, experiences and life lessons we were learning everyday. Chronic illness has taught me we really do have to live in the moment and be grateful for EVERYTHING! Time waits for nobody, blink and moments are gone, sleep and years have flown and people have moved on. We all need a memory bank that we can keep adding too but also we all need to wake up to reality and start appreciate the good in life rather than focusing on the bad.
I never realised how much I miss the teachers, the school, the people. I have taken for granted the time in the classroom, the lessons I was taught and the wise words I follow to this day. I think my return this morning really brought it back to me. A lot of the time I did feel invisible. It is a massive school with so many wonderful people so who after so many years would remember little old me. So thank you Kirkham - you surprised me. You forget walking the corridors everyday what an impact and a set up your school life is for the rest of your life. It shapes you in everyway.
Like I said this morning, my swimming day and my time at Kirkham gave and taught me the tools, the mental mindset and discipline I needed to battle the way I do through illness.
I am far from perfect and my battle isn't one that is suitable for everyone nor is it always right. I just try to make the best of it and learn on the job.
My life didn't go as planned, I worked HARD not just in my swimming but at my school work too. I had dreamed to compete at the London 2012 Olympic Games and I wanted to be a bright spark.
Of course, I only reached the European Youth Olympic level and I wasn't a clever clogs. I was average but worked hard for the grades I did achieve and gave my all to my sport, passion and work. As I do today. It is in my DNA. Which I count as a blessing. My blips have been hard, there has been a lot of heart ache, a lot of tears, a lot of being angry at the world but there has also been such amazing times, moments, memories and experiences to which are the points we have to focus on the most.
After-all we only get one shot at life and we have to make the best of it.
I get angry and mad when I feel I am wasting time, 'resting' and just relaxing but we all need our re-charge time especially with chronic illness.
I will openly admit I wasted a good few years, hiding away, embarrassed, depressed and lost. Which angers me everyday but at the same time without that time and thank goodness it wasn't longer, I wouldn't be pushing myself, living like I do now and have the positive mindset I have kicked myself up the bum to have.
We all have issues, we aren't immune from troubles and hardships and we are all fighting a cause.
The key message is though - we are all fighting.
The fact we get up every morning, with a goal, with a mission, with a passion in mind tells us how strong we are.
Life throws us great challenges and we make our own decisions on how to handle them. From those decisions come consequences and life lessons.
We can't grow without challenges and we can't blossom without having the rain water us. It is all part and parcel of life.
It is always odd because looking at my journey so far there is a lot I hate about my ill health, of course and the way in which events happened but at the same time, I have had some truly amazing opportunities, experiences, met the BEST people, learnt more about myself, learnt new skills and made cherished memories a long the way.
I am so grateful and thankful to Kirkham for this morning and the idea of fundraising for Lyme Disease UK. I can't wait to hear all the ideas and the fun things you come up with.