It has been a rough year, I have had a decline in physical and mental health and so I am making some changes and some will be hard.

Autumn and Winter are always tough when you have arthritis related health issues, plus the shorter daylight hours and the fact that I can’t get out in the garden, it means I struggle.

I usually bounce back a bit once the weather warms up and I get back out into the garden, this is where I am happiest and as I have written about before, I am always willing to sacrifice a few days of flare up to do some gardening.

This year, I didn’t bounce back so well!

I am used to the fact that every year I get a little worse, this is likely due to a progressive decline but also as I get older I am going to struggle more with disability and the pain, but this was not like the slope of decline, it was more like my health fell off a cliff.

We are now in November and as I look out into the garden, I can see the impact of me being able to do less.

The end of year jobs weren’t completed and I sit there feeling anxious that there are things not looking as they should and yes, this is likely me worrying too much and although some things look a bit messy, nature will take care of itself.

I have taken on some extra activities this year, and so that has maybe also had an impact?

I finally took the plunge and started attending the local Reform Shul with the intention of converting and finally being a Jew as were my great grandparents, it has been something that has been nagging away inside me for over three decades.

Also, this year I started the Disability Horizons TV live stream with the very talented duo Mik Scarlet and Dan White and we go live every other Sunday at 6pm and I love it.

But when you have a disability and or chronic illness, it is about pacing and you have to get the balance right.

Hive inspection from August 2021

So it with an enormous amount of sadness that I had to make the decision to get rid of the bee hive. Beekeeping has given me so much joy and satisfaction and it has scratched that itch and so even though I will miss the bees and miss getting up close and personal with a colony, I have the satisfaction of knowing I did it!

And so we now move on to the next sacrifice!

Judaism

I am not going to be able to commit to conversion classes as well as the services, and I had to be realistic about it and face the truth that I am not up to that commitment physically and financially and this hurts, this is harder than giving up the beehive.

I have tried to explain it to people, to family, to friends. The only way I can explain it is like people who feel that they are a man inside a woman’s body or vice versa, my soul is Jewish, I am a Jew and it feels like being homesick for a home that you have never lived in!

I will still attend when I am able, I will still try to follow the prayer life the best I can, but the truth is that when I wake up, I have already had enough and by mid afternoon I am really struggling.

Also, as it is just me who wants this, I cannot create a Jewish home life.

Moving forwards!

It is very important to have the right mindset, because it is very easy to spiral downwards and get into real trouble.

My mental health is low because of the dip in my physical health this year but it has also been because of our financial situation, it has been because of what can only be described as a scary situation that the UK finds itself in now, I have also got a PIP renewal in progress and so all of these things add up and it has hit my mental health.

So I started by declaring that this week is ‘Positive Vibes’ only and I am only going to post on Social Media about positive things and I will be doing my best to avoid the things that have put me in this worsened situation.

After all, me worrying about my PIP renewal will not change the outcome, worrying about the state of this country under a corrupt government will not change things and worrying about my health will mean that my mental health gets lower and that impacts my physical health.

I haven’t left the house for a quite a while now and that is not good, and so I am going to force myself to get out, even if it is just out for a drive with Donna or round the block for a quick (sort of quick) push.

I am lucky to have an amazing and very supporting wife, my daughters are also extremely supporting and having loved ones around is so important and so I am very fortunate!

By Zechariah Richardson

Over 50, disabled, husband, father and gramps who reviews products and writes blog posts about his life, beekeeping, gardening and whatever pops into his brain!

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