Probably one of the hardest things for me to handle in this TBI recovery business, is taking care of the basics. Keeping things simple. Keeping things from getting way out of hand. Keeping myself on track in a way that makes sense for me in the short and long-term.
It’s not easy, to be sure. One of the problems with the basics, is that they are not very exciting. They don’t make for high drama (unless you completely forget all about them and you have to fight the fires that pop up when they go neglected for too long). They also don’t hold my attention as well as, say, a fire. THAT holds my attention, and it often gets me involved in my own life on a level previously unexperienced. That’s exciting. It’s also draining. While it may be engaging and invigorating for a while, it tends to drag my attention away from still other basics that I really need to pay attention to, so I don’t end up with more fires.
First, the basics. A good night’s sleep. Saying good morning and good evening to my loved ones. Paying attention while I’m making breakfast. Eating breakfast, in the first place. Getting regular exercise. Not letting little things get to me. Running my errands on time, not in a panic. Doing what’s in front of me to the best of my ability.
I think one of the things that gets in the way is just the sheer amount of time it takes me to do the basics. The old seamless, quick, simple ways of doing basic stuff is a thing of the past. No use fighting or worrying about it. I just need to do things differently than before. But it is time-consuming, and it can be tiring. And at the end of the day, I end up with far less accomplished, than if I’d been able to quickly dispatch the easy things and move quickly on to the next more exciting and more advanced thing.
It can be very discouraging to start out my day with a list of cool things I want to get done, then get sidetracked by fatigue or distraction, and end up with half the things still undone on my list. How frustrating. I mean, how hard can it be to do such-and-such? Apparently, it’s harder than I thought.
Either that, or I’m not nearly as capable as I imagine. Either option is a bit deflating. Why don’t I just go back to bed, then, if I’m never going to get anything meaningful done? Why not just pack it all in?
Well, because there are some things I really, really want to get done. I want to live my life. I want to live it to the fullest that’s humanly possible. I want to explore, I want to find out what’s out there. I want to stretch and test my limits and take it all in, like a meal that never ends. I want to live. Even if it means that I have to pick and choose between the things I really want to do, and the things that I’m likely to do. Even if it means turning my back on the things I think I want to do, but will very likely never, ever get done — either because there is just too much time involved in getting it all take care of, or because it’s some dream I had from when I was younger and different and didn’t have the perspective I have now.
The basics. Get back. In the end, it will be worth it.