Life is manageable again. I have the energy to go out one or two nights a week. I can socialize and… mostly… keep up my end of the conversation. I can exercise moderately for 30 to 45 minutes three days out of five. I am able to pay my own way. I have two cats and a girlfriend and a house, all of which I have managed to hold on to through this process.
Great, right? Yes, I have been extremely blessed through this whole thing. Plus, I am still getting better. I continue to become more myself, even in the three weeks of this blog.
So, why do I feel malcontent?
I have finally FINALLY narrowed down my desires and dreams to fit within what my body and mind can do right now. In fact, some moments, now, my mind begins to outstrip my plans, my expectations. I may be able to do more than I am. Yet, my quality-of-life expectations have risen. I want to 1) have energy to enjoy and engage in an activity, not just physically show up, 2) avoid unpleasant side effects like dizziness or headaches, and 3) wake up the day after an activity and feel functional. Not high demands pre-injury, definitely high standards post-injury.
I want to not only make it to my 530 pm group guitar lesson, I want to still have the energy to care about the teaching, ask questions, be engaged. Sometimes I manage that with the help of an upper (caffeine), sometimes not. Last week was a fail, two weeks ago was a success.
Yet then I remember pushing my limits when I was living my life in a way that now seems footloose and fancy free. I showed up to roller derby practice exhausted and cranky and without the energy to think… but I did it anyway, for two hours, and felt more energized after than before. I have showed up to work with nothing left. A late night, a poor night’s sleep, and I was an amicable zombie just trying to get through the day without too many bumps in the road. These experiences are reasonable, normal.
Why not show up in poor form now? Why not be okay with being less than my best?
I answer myself. My lows are lower. When overdrawn, I sometimes am literally unable to think. The concentration and energy needed for driving are no longer something I can take for granted. The mental nimbleness that allowed me to get by when I wasn’t prepared or did too much the night before isn’t in force right now. The costs of overdoing it are higher, and can span days.
Yet I am primed to do as much as possible, always, to “live”. What is enough? What is too much? What must I do to be fulfilled and content with my life, while allowing myself to “heal”. That nefarious, unspecific, seemingly unending activity – healing. Fuck you healing process. Just, fuck you.
Yup. I have finally arrived. I’m livin’ the dream.