If I awoke to frozen pipes and a soaked carpet with children clamoring for breakfast and a cast on my right arm and hand, I fed them breakfast and then went about the task of tearing up the carpet and throwing it into the yard. One-handed.
This is both good and bad. I got things done. But I also hurt myself at a young age. I suppose thinking I was invincible and everything would heal and I would fully recuperate.
What I learned is that all these little tasks that I took on with barely a thought brought me trouble with my body down the line. The body gets old. It doesn't bounce back. Lesson learned, but a little late.
I never quite grasped the act of sitting still and doing nothing until I was in my fifties. By then my body was getting tired, but my energy level kept spiking. And with it came injuries.
I taught myself visualization techniques in order to stop my body from constantly moving, and letting my mind absorb that energy. And sometimes that worked.
I am learning that the new ankle brace is a wonderful tool for me. But it doesn't mean that I can keep going full speed ahead, which is what I miss. It means that I can drive without a boot, thank goodness, for a period of time. But it does not mean I can be on my feet very long. Period. Pain ensues quickly.
I suppose I thought it would take care of that pain and I could move on, redecorating a room in a day. What I'm learning is that I can move about in small doses. And that if I push this limit too far, I will pay with pain and by being forced to be still for days. Which is probably the hardest thing for me to do.
Sometimes I want to rail to the powers that be: Why couldn't this have happened to a person who likes to sit in a chair and read all day? Why did this happen to a person who has so much energy I could drain half of it and still have more than enough to share with three other people?
With this seemingly boundless energy has come quick anger, words said before thinking, and a lifetime of impulsivity. All the things that happen when you move too fast. Talk too fast. Respond too fast.
Did you know they think that impulsivity is an inherited trait? Many studies suggest this.
And it has a huge affect on relationships. Which is why, if I could, I would live in a small cabin deep in the woods and live off the land.
Alone. With the pupsters of course. Where it didn't matter what I said. For there was no one around to hear it. Where it didn't matter how fast I responded. Because no one was around to be affected by it.
I am sitting here with my brace on but elevated. Because yesterday I took it upon myself to get on a step ladder and take everything off of two walls, and then fill in the nail holes.
The day before that my friend Kay and I went to lunch and to our favorite antique mall, where I managed to make it about halfway through, and then grudgingly admitted I could not walk any farther.
I wanted to walk down every aisle, just for the heck of it. Just for the exercise. Because with being sedentary comes weight gain. And I can't move fast enough and long enough to put a big dent in it right now.
I stare at the cans of paint, and I want to start painting furniture. I stare at blank canvases, and I want to make something.
Yesterday I took the books off the bookshelves in my bedroom and dusted. The day before I got on a stepladder and dusted the tops of the tall shelves. And while I was at it, I figured I might as well dust the two ceiling fans. Impulsivity.
I know I'm supposed to learn something from this entire situation. And I have. I still strain at the bit like a horse at the gate when I want to get something done.
But I'm trying to learn patience. Never my virtue.
I'm trying to learn that the day is not a failure if I haven't accomplished a significant task. I'm trying to learn that restraint is a virtue also.
I'm learning to spend time gazing out the window and emptying my mind of what I haven't gotten done that day.
I am watching the birds outside on the patio and trying to learn from them. What they do, why they seem to do it, and in what pattern. I figure nature has taught them. And maybe they can teach me.
How to accept that which I cannot change. And that straining at the bit is acceptable to a degree. But once you taste blood from the pressure, you must let go.
I have already learned to find great pleasure in the simple things.
I have learned that it is not only the act of planting flowers that brings you joy. It is also watching them grow, watering them, and being able to gaze at them out the window with satisfaction. By planting a seed, you receive a multitude of gifts that keep on giving.
Now I need to learn that the tasks I want to get done so badly can be done in increments, instead of being done in a day. Or even a week.
I need to listen to my body, and react accordingly. And realize that I am no longer young.
And that, despite my energy level, I was never invincible.