While many people are now figuring out how best to work from home, I’m still adjusting to “not” working from home. It’s been nearly a year and a half since I went on long term sick and I’m still finding it hard. 

I have been working since I was 17, no breaks, no sabbaticals, no gap years, no time-out. I’ve moaned over the years about having to work, often wishing for a time I could stop. When my pals and I started our business, I had a very clear plan – work my socks off, build the business, sell it, retire before I was 50.

In a strange twist of fate, I did retire early, at 51. Ill health rather than mass wealth. Technically I’m still employed, still bringing in a salary, albeit a reduced one, thanks to a Group Income Protection policy. It lasts 5 years. I wonder if I will. Interesting dichotomy.

Hard to work when your leg does this

So, I try and keep myself busy and maintain some sort of routine. Over time this becomes more challenging as all the “jobs” you never had time to do, are all now sorted! Luckily, they tend to take longer as I have to juggle my productive time between chemotherapy, radiotherapy or surgery!

I was never a great fan of Monday mornings – those “back to work blues”. I now hate them for the opposite reason; the normal people, the healthy ones, my mates, my wife, are all going about their normal lives, off to fulfil their sense of purpose and their sense of achievement

I’m not sure the current corona virus lockdown has made this better or worse. The fact there are so many people now in a similar position; i.e. not able to work, makes it seem a little easier to bear – at least our virtual calls are consumed with what the hell people are doing to kill time. I think I feel less guilty that I’m not really doing much. I feel slightly more justified that I’m playing Tomb Raider on the PS4! It almost feels ok to have binge watched Ozark and had a drink at 4pm on a weekday!

I feel lost. Filling the dishwasher 3 times a day, playing Pop Master on Radio 2, and walking the dog, while pleasant, just leaves a massive void. I love my friends, they keep me grounded, one of them recently referred to me as a “daytime tv watching, golf playing, workshy git” 

I miss the buzz of the office, the camaraderie, the creativity, the motivation, the stresses, the excitement of just doing the job. Of coming home, having a moan or telling the funny stories, or recounting a great “deal” that was done. 

Unlike the majority of people now “not” working from home, I guess at least I’m used to it; I’ve been in a form of lockdown since starting chemo 3 years ago. Any infection, not just COVID-19, could kill me while on treatment. Unfortunately, my situation is a little less temporary than most, although I try and do what I can to change that

I just feel emasculated in some way; guilty that I’m not going out into the big bad world every day to kill sabre toothed tigers and bring home the bacon, or bread, or anything else to support and treat my family.

On the positive side, I have at least had the opportunity to build a platform to raise some awareness and funds in an attempt to help other people struggling with cancer. This gives me a creative outlet, uses the little grey cells, and thankfully gives me some satisfaction. Lockdown has made fundraising extremely difficult, so I’ve had to adjust my plans for this year. My first attempt can be found here;

www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/matthew-wiltshire?utm_term=XpMQ24d3E

The video is also here

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