Friday, March 20, 2009

It's Friday, Finally

How do you lose a pair of slippers in your own house? For days at a time? I own two pair of slippers and haven’t been able to find either of them for going on a full week. At first, I was too embarrassed to ask Michael and Shea to help me look. When I finally did, they found one pair right away. The second is still lurking in the shadows somewhere. This is aggravating beyond my capacity to describe it, as I had both pair in the same room, in the same place (where they live when not in use) not too long ago. They are certainly wherever I left them. Which I do not remember and cannot reconstruct.

At the gym this week, it occurred to me that the hardest thing about going consistently is purposefully doing something at which I’m not good and for which I have no aptitude. Maybe it’s healthy to confront my weaknesses. If so, it is not very fun. In general, I believe in playing to people’s strengths—for me, for people who work with and for me, for my friends. In this case, I don’t have much choice, but I still don’t have to like it. I don’t. I can like the results, though, as it undeniably improved my balance in those years before the tumor was diagnosed and likely has contributed to my relatively rapid recovery from major surgery. On my brain. Now and then, I stop to think about that and what it means, though even after considerable reflection, I still have no clue. Yesterday, for example, I had a meeting with someone on the second floor of a building and I didn’t think twice about climbing a flight of stairs either direction. Three months ago, I couldn’t have done that. We take so much of our capacity in daily life for granted—until it vanishes. So, along with curly hair to cover surgical scars, I’m thankful for being able to climb stairs. Go figure. If you’d told me that at just about any point in my past life, it would have been a cause for laughter. The day when it hits that point again will be sweet.

At the request of a colleague, I talked with a group this week about overcoming the adversity of this experience. For me, it really boils down to the fact that we don’t get to choose what happens to us, but we do always choose how we respond—and to do that, it pays to learn to take help from our friends. That’s a hard thing to pull off sometimes, especially when giving help is so much more comfortable than receiving it, but there is a certain grace in it, and as Laura pointed out, there can be an element of gift-giving in it. There’s a framing problem for you, of major proportions.

In retrospect, I’m guessing that the six-month mark post-surgery is going to have been a major turning point: the external symptoms of this adventure have faded almost into oblivion, and my life is more nearly normal than at any other point. Just the change in this blog reveals change in process. I’d like to think—and hope—that there is more progress to come. On the other hand, there is much to appreciate about where things now stand. I’m going to try to focus more on that and less on my frustrations.

1 comment:

  1. So here's my first, outrageously sexist, but playfully waggish comment to your observation of: "They are certainly wherever I left them. Which I do not remember and cannot reconstruct."

    Well, now you know how it feels to be a man.

    (Insert rimshot here.)

    The real purpose for posting was to express sympathy for the "I really don't like going to the gym" sentiment. For me, it's not even that I feel "not good at it"--although that's true enough--but that I find it BORING--achingly, acutely, protractedly, unremittingly, boring. I basically have always needed a "buddy" to even get me to go into a gym-like structure, much less do anything inside said building.

    I have recently incorporated regular visits to the gym into my weekly rountine, however, for much the same reason I've done many (or given up many) things in my life--to set a good example for my children. I've a teenage daughter who has aged out of the park district sports program and isn't terribly athletically inclined (although she's more gifted than she gives herself credit for). I know intellectually that it is important to keep moving, to be active, to burn calaries, etc. in order to have a healthy off we go to the gym.

    But, in case you missed this point . . . IT'S SOOOO BORING! I'm not sure how long this good behavior will last--maybe only until she's off to college, but at least that will be 4 years of "non-couch-potato-hood" I can lay claim to. In any event, if you ever need a gym buddy, you know where to look, 'cause at some point I'm likely to desperately need one if I'm going to motivate myself to keep moving.