101 Ways to be Happy #1: five days on the Jurassic Coast

Coming to terms with a chronic, progressive illness is like a death by a thousand cuts. It’s grieving, but it’s not like the standard grieving process, where you pass through the five stages from denial, occasionally cycling backwards but ultimately ending up at acceptance. Accepting MS is something I have to do over and over, each time my condition worsens, each time I have to let go of another part of my old life.

The only thing that can sustain me as I do this is the knowledge that I still have a life worth living, and a life that can have joy in it, so I’m determined to find ways to be happy  and wring those experiences for every last drop of pleasure.

In this knowledge my husband and I are making an effort to seize the day and do things that we might previously have put off till later, thinking we had all the time in the world. At the last minute, we booked a cottage near Bridport in Dorset on Airbnb during the Easter holidays. Our son, like many little boys, is obsessed with dinosaurs and we thought he would enjoy some fossil-hunting on the Jurassic Coast, and we knew we’d all benefit from some sea air to blow away the city cobwebs we’d accumulated from a long, cold winter indoors.

The weather was cold, but bright, and from our base in Bridport we managed to get out and about every day, to Lyme Regis for fish and chips on the seafront, Charmouth for an (unsuccessful) fossil hunting mission, to Hive Beach for the children to play chicken in the waves and for an amazing brunch at the Hive Beach Cafe (including plates of waffles bigger than the children’s heads – which they polished off nevertheless). And then to the Jurassic Fun Centre for swimming (to work off those waffles) and tenpin bowling at which we all did very badly, but it’s the taking part that counts!

A lovely family holiday, where we all got to hang out together and enjoy ourselves. These times are so precious and so rare, I’m making it my mission to find more of them.

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