When I entered my first full time job at 18, it was made clear to me how important attention to detail was. Whilst being human means we all make mistakes, I carried through that key basic with me throughout my career. But 2 years after my brain injury I can see something has changed. I can be complacent about things that previously I would have put extra time and effort into.
“That will do, they won’t mind.”
When wrapping presents for others, I always got comments on my skills. I was trained when I was 21 to be able to wrap perfectly and at speed for customers whilst they watched you, to the standard Chanel used to demand. Don’t worry, I’m not about to bore you to death by giving you a step by step guide on how to get a professional finish. So I made sure anyone who I cared about enough for me to buy a gift for got AT LEAST the same standard I used to give customers.
But as my coordination is lightly off, as is my vision, I now produce much less remarkable wrapped presents. I probably could create something as good as before with extra time and effort, but I’m more complacent about it now. I find I tell myself that they probably won’t care or notice, so that will do. And whilst it is true all the people on my gift list care more about the thought that is put into deciding on a present, I do think they enjoyed how special I made their gifts look before.
“Who am I trying to impress, it doesn’t matter what I look like.”
I would have said I was always well presented. Not over the top or especially glamorous, but I always would have looked smartly dressed. Now though, I care a lot less for my appearance. Only if I’m seeing someone I haven’t seen for a long time do I bother to put on even a flick of mascara. I realise part of that is growing up. Younger ladies worry too much about their appearance, but I really am complacent now. It doesn’t bother me to open the door when I have already changed into my PJ’s and have crazy messy hair piled on top of my head. Previously I would have made James do it, even if was only in his dressing gown after having a shower.
Focusing on what matters.
There are many ways in which my life has changed in the last 2 years. Mostly, but not all due to my brain injury. But as I still suffer from fatigue, short attention span and physical weakness, to name a few, I have to choose my battles. I feel like I aged 10 years over night and my priorities had to change. Now making things look pretty is something I still like the idea of, but I can’t execute any more. Is my complacent attitude just my way of trying to excuse myself? Perhaps.
Some days I am still terrified of the future. I still can’t plan more than a few days at a time. So any task I commit to doing I have to finish within an allotted period of time so I doesn’t drag on forever. That extra time and effort could turn into a massive disaster for me if I obsess too much about one thing, and then fail to complete the task altogether. So don’t think I have a carefree attitude, because actually it’s quite the opposite. I have to accept my limitations. So I can spend my time and energy wisely on things that matter, and I care dearly about. We only live once, so we have to prioritise.
You can read more about concentration issues in Distracted after brain injury. Feeling dejected.