A closed road on your way to work

Imagine driving to work one morning and trying to take your usual route, which happens to be the fastest way to get there. But this morning, you find that a part of your route is closed. You’re frustrated that you can’t go your usual way and that you’ll probably be late.

But you then end up finding an alternative route, and once you allow your frustration to settle, you realise that this new way is actually much nicer than your usual. You’re now driving by the sea or in the countryside, and you take some time to appreciate how beautiful everything is and soak it all in. You’ve never done that before. You get to work late but things feel different. Those moments where you stopped to appreciate your new route make you feel happy throughout the day.


A closed road in life

This is similar to what my current journey in life has been like. As I walked down the aisle towards Dermot on our wedding day in 2014, I was filled with hopes and dreams for our future. I was hopeful that we would spend some time being happy newly-weds, continuing to do the things we both enjoy; spending time with family and friends, travelling, training and racing, and that we would eventually start the family we’d both dreamt about for so long.

As you can imagine, it never crossed my mind that I might become chronically ill, that I would go to bed at night wondering whether I’d be able to get out of it the next morning. Or that I would end up having to stop going to work, stop training and above all stop leaving the house and having friends over.

I’ve heard from friends and of friends whose life path was going in the exact direction that Dermot and I had hoped ours would, and I won’t deny that as happy as I was for them, I felt slightly frustrated at the fact that we seemed to be stuck.


Learning to appreciate the little things in life

But just like when you discover a different route on your way to work, by being made to take a different life path, I’ve learned so much. More than anything, I’ve learned to stop rushing through it, but rather take the time to appreciate how beautiful it is and soak it all in every day. I’ve also learnt to always find time for the people who matter most.

I feel like I’ve been given a second chance at life, and through it all, I’ve learned to appreciate the small but essential things. I’ve also started to learn to just be, as I like to think of it. Just be me. Just be here. Just be in the present moment. Just be, without thoughts and worries. Without thinking about what I could be doing if I wasn’t here; what I need to do later, tomorrow or next year. And just enjoy today, this moment.