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  • Jacqueline Le Sueur

Just 6 Weeks Less-Abled : S + 10 | A mountain to climb

Updated: Jan 29, 2020

I'm quite partial to climbing a mountain. On foot is not bad, on my bike is simply the best. Whether it is a mountain proper like Mont Ventoux in this picture or the steep hills on Exmoor I get such a massive sense of achievement riding up. And back down.

I most usually make it to the top. Sometimes discretion is the better part of valour, particularly in places like the Alps where the weather can change quickly; the wise thing to do is turn round and go back down when it gets too windy, too wet or it begins to snow. I rarely turn back just because the climb is tough. When I ride I do think of my destination from time to time but not often as it can seem overwhelming, especially when it is a long, high mountain. I focus on what is in front of me. The next metre of road, the next revolution of the pedals. It's an approach that works for me. I get there in the end.

This morning I had a different mountain to climb: that of changing the linen on my bed. I never relish this job and today I felt it would be a herculean task. I wasn't wrong. Yet again I found myself blind-sided by how many things we, well certainly I, do that I don't give a second thought to. For example ...

If you had asked me before I started if I needed to stand on one foot from time to time to change the bed I would have said, 'no', I am pretty certain of that. Wrong. I was trying to put my weight through one foot repeatedly. I have no idea why. Maybe it is a strategy I have developed to compensate in some way for having a limited core stability due to my mesh. Whatever the reason I was surprised. I had to stop myself time and time again.

Had you asked me if it was awkward to move around my bed again, I would have said, no. It is not a small room, plenty of space to move around. Wrong. I kept on hitting my left foot ... on the suitcase under the bed, on the legs of the bed, on the leg of the bedside table, on the edge of the bedroom door. Most likely because I am wearing my boot and yet even with the level of awareness I have of this boot I still kept banging it.

I got frustrated midway. Here I was struggling to get the sheets off and I still had to get the clean ones back on.

"Too much," I wailed internally. I went off and had a cup of tea. I am English and this is what we do.

Ten minutes later I was back at the bed. I'd decided that if I could just get bed linen off and in the washing machine then I could get help from a friend to get the clean set on. This I felt I could do.

What a sense of achievement as I put everything in the washing machine! Mountain climbed.

You always take a rest at the top of a challenging climb on the bike, only a short one if it is cold or wet, of course. You add clothing, take a drink, have a coffee or food if there is a cafe and spend a wee moment thinking of the ride down.

Walking into the kitchen from the utility room I decided to take a break and have another cuppa. Those who know me will not be surprised to hear that once I had had a small rest I decided to put the clean linen on the bed. Not satisfied just to climb this mountain I needed to get down the other side, as it were. I needed to finish things, as much mentally as anything else.

Being a bit wiser and more aware of my current limitations the 'descent' was no where near as hard. Instead of looking at the whole task I approached it like I do a mountain on the bike ... focus on the immediate and not on the end. Lesson learned there! It's also left me thinking about context and how it influences our behaviour.

So, eventually, I climbed my 'mountain' today ... and descended it! Broken foot and clumsy boot and all! A really great sense of success.

Step by step, work with what we have and we get there in the end.

P.S. Tell you what ... I cannot wait to sleep between those sheets tonight!

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