I imagine what it would like to be a stroke victim and have to relearn everything, speaking, smiling, grasping, talking. What a horror that would be! And yet many victims of strokes DO rally and relearn basic skills because the human spirit can be so incredibly strong – our will to live and heal. I am tested and challenged these days. The jury is still out on whether my human spirit is strong enough to lead me out of a pea soup miasma. Each day, I awake to such sadness. I fight the urge to give up and just go back to sleep forever, pain free in unconsciousness. So far (just barely) I’ve been able to exhort myself to action, to live in the day as best I can.
Kaveh says only from adversity can there be growth. I’m counting on this to be true. I want growth. It would be such a gift to be able to look back on these days and say, “Thank God for the dark days…they were incredibly painful but they helped me forge new, better paths and from the adversity I learned new skills that I will use to live better”. If I play my cards right, this shitty time can be importantly developmental.
To be stuck or to embrace/ force change on myself is my every day theme these days. Obviously I don’t choose “stuck” so lately I question everything about my life – everything: my career, my social connections, my hobbies, my relationships, my habits, my goals. Housekeeping. In a previous posting, I talked about the anti-despair diet – what I can do to starve despair, what habits I have that encourage despair. Since then I have reminded myself that I hate the concept of “anti”. I bristle when I see a race advertised as “the race against hate” (shouldn’t it be the race FOR love?) or even telling little children “no running”. (wouldn’t it be better to say “use your walking feet"?) So, instead of the anti-despair diet, how does the “pro happiness” diet sound?
Questioning everything, down to the smallest thing. I always wake to my automatic coffee pot and spend the first hour of the day, quietly drinking coffee, ruminating. Lately that hour has turned into brooding time, so that habit has to go. Past few days I’ve gotten out of bed, thrown on some clothes, brushed my teeth and got Joey out of his crate and then right out the door to the dog beach. It takes 5 minutes to be there, so in only minutes after waking, I greet the sparkling lake and enjoy the company of other dog owners. Today I met Mike, Jim, Barbara and others with dogs named Cailie, Taj, and
Questioning everything: what I eat (maybe I should try sushi after all), where I exercise (I just joined the Evanston Athletic Club, whether I take milk in my coffee, the routes around town (why should I take the predictable path?), what I want to be when I grow up (maybe it’s time for a change) , how I want to spend my weekends (maybe hanging out with my 30 year old friends at my house, drinking too much and playing board games is not the best way to meet someone new!).
I will be my own concierge - what a wonderful idea! We live in one of the most amazing cities in the world and it’s a beautiful time of year. There is NO excuse for boredom or anemic activities. Today I will get my calendar out and start filling in the days with amazing things to do over the next several months. I will reach out to friends I may have neglected and strengthen those bonds. There are plays to see, lectures to attend, concerts, exercise classes, social networking to meet people, dog training, new hobbies to take on (maybe I’ll get a motorcycle), books to write, a one woman show to create and act in, and who knows what else! I will script a whirlwind schedule of activities and then immerse myself in all things new and exciting. I will be breathless and energized by what this city has to offer me. This city, with its big shoulders, has the capacity to heal me if I put it to work.
The challenge today: question everything and decide if it goes in the “keep” or “throw away” pile. For me in the keep pile: my house, my kids, my dear friends, books, my dog, coffee, walking, singing, writing, new adventures. The throw away pile may include: singing at Schallers (when did it stop being fun?), board games at home on Fridays and Saturdays (pathetic), over gifting, canning, vodka, solitary circular thinking time, being tied to my smart phone, Patrick pipe dreams.
Life should and could be a lot of fun.