My son set up a raised bed for me the other day. Since we have once again switched seasons (from spring back to winter), he is waiting to set out the plants until the chance of freezing temperatures is gone. It seems we have had crazier than usual weather this year… 79 degrees one day and snow the next. Yesterday I went out in short sleeves during the day and a sweatshirt in the evening. Today I pulled out my winter coat again. (My garden may remain in my kitchen a bit longer.)
Although we have certainly had warmer days already this year, I heard something tonight that was music to my ears. As my son and I got out of the car, I heard frogs singing from the nearby creek. We stood outside and just listened for a few moments. I am hoping spring has finally sprung.
When someone sees me and says, “You’re getting around so well!” I must confess that, although I know they are celebrating my progress, there is a part of me that gets angry. I generally smile, and say “thanks,” but I am often thinking about the price that getting around costs me. It is painful and exhausting.
I used to tell myself that I was selfish for feeling this way. Then my counselor told me that part of why my anxiety has become so powerful is because I am not allowing myself to simply feel what I am feeling without judging myself, hence my decision to be more “transparent” here.
Every morning I wake up and struggle to get out of bed. I attend physical therapy 3 days a week. Some of those days I am in a lot of pain before I get there. Other days, the pain is a result of the therapy. If I feel good and my pain is minimal, more pain will come later as a result of doing too much (which might be as little as a trip to the grocery store).
As I read my writing, I realize it seems I am ungrateful for my ability to walk. Then I feel guilty, and the cycle begins. But my purpose for writing this is to be honest, so I have to admit that I am pissed.
I am pissed that the Color Run is this weekend, and I cannot participate. I am pissed because I used to walk or run for an hour every morning and I cannot do that either. I am pissed because I have a trampoline that I can’t use. I am pissed because it hurts to walk for more than a few minutes. I’m pissed because the people in my arthritis H20 class are 20 to 30 years older than I am and can kick my butt. I’m pissed because I can’t ride my bicycle, much less my motorcycle. And I’m pissed because I’m pissed.
I have always been able to see the bright side of things. I certainly see the bright side here as well, but the dark side impossible to ignore. Yes, I can walk, but my hips won’t rotate correctly, so my hips, legs, and back hurt. Yes, I can get around, but I can’t Zumba or do any of the other fun physical activities I love so much. Yes, I survived, but there are constant reminders of the trauma and I wear many of them.
If you know Eats, Shoots and Leaves by Lynne Truss, you will understand the title of this blog post.
My husband and I often catch clerks off guard because we are buyers, not shoppers. For example, we walk into the store, buy a laptop, leave, walk back into the store because we forgot to buy a chair, we buy the chair, and we leave again. We know what we want. We get it. We go back home.
Needless to say, I don’t get many invitations to hang out with the girls.
Today’s post is informational rather than narrative.
As a next step along my writing path, I am linking my blog to my Facebook page. This will enable my Facebook friends to read posts from Help Along the Path. As I continue learning how to utilize social media with my blog, I will determine how to make the best use of this ability and will connect with my other accounts. Stay tuned…
*This is not a typical post for me. In my quest to write every day this year, I am completing an assignment that is a bit off topic for me.
For today’s assignment in the Zero to Hero: 30 Days to a Better Blog challenge, I am referring back to a post I commented on yesterday. Ben Orlin’s January 9th post entitled American teachers work the hardest. (After Chileans, of course.) caught my eye. His blog name, Fifty-Five Million, refers to the number of students enrolled in American schools. The subject matter is American education statistics.
Although my comment was directly related to the content of the above mentioned post, I was interested in the no-nonsense approach to statistics used by the math teacher/blogger. As a fellow math teacher, I felt validated by the data showing how hard we work, compared to teachers in other countries. As a fellow writer, I enjoyed Orlin’s sense of humor, reminding us that “numbers, like hips, don’t lie.”
Notice I did not include data and humor in the same sentence. Orlin does just this. If you have a nerdtastic sense of humor, like me, check out his Math with Bad Drawings. I found it quite entertaining, although the drawings ARE bad.
I’ve been working on a post that isn’t quite ready yet. So in the interest of keeping my daily posting commitment, I will tell you about something that happened this evening. Since we had no children at home tonight, my husband and I went out for dinner.
It was Saturday night so the restaurant was packed. As we waited to be seated, I spotted my chiropractor and his wife sitting at a table near the bar. As I am still in a wheelchair due to my accident, I had my husband wheel me over to their table. I proceeded to share that I had not been to his office in the past couple of months due to my injuries.
After catching up a bit, he asked if I would like him to give me an adjustment while we were there. I jumped at the opportunity to get some relief from the stiffness that had been increasing in the past few weeks. So we went outside long enough for him to adjust my neck without calling attention to ourselves. We thanked the kind doctor by paying for dinner for him and his wife. (We had their server bring us their check.)
Afterward, my husband and I enjoyed a nice meal together. I enjoyed a quartino of red wine, a salad, and a mixed grill. There was more food than I needed, but it was so good that I kept eating until I was more full than I’ve been in awhile. As I forced in the last bite, I looked at my husband and said, “You’re going to have to roll me out of here!” [rimshot]
Just like every year since I can remember, I have spent the last few days of December reflecting on the year and thinking about the coming one. But this year is a little different because I was hit with the reality that this year could very well have been my last.
I lost my dad in 2010, and as much as I loved him, that was different than being faced with my own mortality. Although I know I will write more about my accident in the coming days, today I want to focus on the gratitude I have for life. When I awake each morning, I am thankful for another day. As cliche as it might sound, it’s true. Yes, I was appreciative before now, but I had never experienced how fragile life really is until this year. I realize I only delayed the inevitable. The gift in all of this is that life is sweeter.
Looking over the past year, I have lots for which to be thankful. My first grandchild was born. Her father and mother married (my oldest son and the baby’s mother). My step-father beat death a few times. One of those times he says he actually died. Being there with him, I don’t doubt what he says is true. And I survived a traumatic accident.
2014 is a new beginning, as are all years. But I am especially excited about the coming year, because there was a moment when I thought I might not have a 2014. I was faced with the reality that I may never get to jump the hurdles I have put in my own way. I am no longer willing to not do things because I feel anxious or inadequate. I may never get another chance. I’ve known this on an intellectual level, but I now I have had an experience that has driven the concept home.
So, as I watch the ball drop and toast in the new year with a glass of champagne, hugs and kisses from my husband and son, and text messages from my grown children and other family members and friends, I will remember that each moment is a gift. And as I begin carrying out my new year’s resolutions tomorrow, I will do it joyfully. After all, my whole purpose in making them is to become closer to my ideal self… to become more of who I really am.
I am grateful that tomorrow I get to host a celebration for donors that purchased tables and chairs for my classroom. When my sponsors asked me what I would like for my classroom, I decided I should take the opportunity to ask for what I really wanted. The worst thing that could have happened is that they would have said no. The best thing that could have happened did. The classroom sponsor asked another donor to pitch in and help them with the purchase. It took nearly the whole year, but we got our furniture and it looks great! So tomorrow, my students are going to throw a party for the donors as a way to express their gratitude. I’m so glad I asked!
Several things happened today that made me think about how unconscious we humans can be. Just of couple of these follow.
An acquaintance of mine made a decision that very likely cost her career, at the very least. Students at my son’s school don’t “get him” because he is a little quirky, so they moan and groan when they have to sit by him. He asked me, “Why do all the kids at my school hate me?” Sad. Kids learn how to treat others somewhere… seemingly from unconscious people.