Have you moved today?

Move those snags out of the way and keep heading downstream

So, vacation was good. I kicked back and did very little. I walked the beach, walked the town, hung out with friends, talked about a lot of stuff that matters, talked about a lot of stuff that doesn’t… listened to friends b-s themselves, listened to myself b-s them (all with the best of intentions, of course), and then came back to a house that had clearly been shut up for the week. Any house needs regular ventilation, but because of the chance of rain, we didn’t leave many windows open. So we got back to stale air and a chilly house around 12:30 a.m. Went to bed. It would wait till the morning to fix.

And it did wait. I woke up feeling like crap — tried to sleep in, was not successful, then got up and had myself a cup of coffee and my cereal. I could have moved a bit. I should have moved a bit. But I sat down to read and type up some recollections from my vacation.

I posted the things I’d written on my laptop while I was without an internet connection, and I watched some Henry Rollins videos and interviews. To be honest, I can’t remember much of yesterday, other than I felt like crap and did not get out to pick up the mail from the post office or completely clean out the car until late in the day. I had some lunch and then lay down for a nap in the afternoon, but I couldn’t sleep long.

I guess re-entry into my everyday life takes a little while. Especially when I am so far “off the grid” without contact with work or my regular daily routine.

And that’s fine, because it just means that I had a very successful vacation – I got out of the crazy grind that wears me down, day after day, and I got to completely step away and do something for and by myself without getting pulled into all sorts of drama. The main hurdles were what to eat and when, whether to go to the beach or stay in bed and relax.

Not bad, overall. Not bad at all.

One thing that was really different from my usual routine was the amount and kind of walking I did. While our friends were visiting the first weekend, I did a lot of walking into town to get coffee and breakfast. And out on the beach, I did a lot of walking in the sand, which was murder on my legs for the first few days, till I got used to it. Then it was all good. I kind of put my back out, carrying bags out to the car, but I rested yesterday, so it’s all pretty good now.

After our friends took off, I really noticed it when I didn’t move, first thing in the morning. Without them there, I was free to, well, sit around like a lump… read and write some things, and just think about everything, rather than getting out there. I also found myself a little “shy” of going out, because I actually was pretty tired, and I got a bit overwhelmed in town. I could have gone out — and it probably would have done me some good — but I opted to stay in and keep out of the crazy rush of people.

Whatever.  It’s all good.

And I had plenty of time to think about my life and where it’s been headed. I got a call from the recruiter I was talking to, and sure enough I did not get the job. The company decided they “did not want to move forward” with me. Just as I suspected, I took the exact wrong turn when I was doing my technical test, and they didn’t much care for my thought process. And that’s fine, actually. The choice I made was based on 15 years of experience, and what I heard them saying was a bunch of “purism” that only works in certain scenarios. So it probably wouldn’t have been a good match for me, considering how pragmatic I am. I was also starting to get really stressed out about the things I’d read online about that company, the commute, the drama, etc. And even if they had wanted to move forward with me, I probably would have declined any offer they made to me.

Maybe.

Then again, maybe I would have gone with it — just to see if I could do it. And then in another couple of years, it would have been this same mess all over again, with me chafing under those constraints, etc. etc. etc.

Yah, it’s just as well I didn’t test very well. Who knows — maybe that little bird sitting on my shoulder knew I didn’t really want it, and prompted me to scuttle my own ship before I got out to sea. Or this is all just more sour-grapes B-S I’m running on myself to make myself feel better about screwing up. Or it’s a bit of both — that’s my best guess.

And I thought about my life… the directions I’ve taken, the turns it’s taken on me. And I thought about how the hell I ended up here, and how the hell I can get myself out. We all make our choices. Each and every day, we make our choices. Those choices define us, they shape us, the make our days and our nights into the fuel for our future. Our destiny. I realized over that week that where I am is not at all an unusual place to be — especially considering what I’ve been through with the TBIs, the job issues, the health problems. It’s not uncommon — in fact, it’s anything but — it’s totally common, and so many people have those same experiences. And we get caught up on some of the experiences, like when you’re floating downstream in a river and your boat gets caught on a snag and you have to work like crazy to get off that equivalent of a submerged tree or root or some other piece of junk from inside your head.

Our minds are like rivers, and if we’re not careful, we can find ourselves drifting into shallow waters where there are all sorts of snags and crocodiles and black water racers… and more. Life is never easy — for any of us — and we need to take care — all of us do. No matter what we’re up against — be it mental or physical or spiritual or emotional… physiological or neurological or biochemical — we’ve got plenty to keep us busy, and if we’re honest with ourselves, we have to admit that we need to pay closer attention to the things in our lives that threaten to pull us into the shallows and get us stuck.

Getting stuck… it’s a pretty tough place to be, and we sometimes have to work like crazy to get off the snags of life and back out into the flow. Sometimes we get the proverbial hole punched in the bottom of our boats, if we’re not paying close enough attention or the maps of the “river” we’re on aren’t good or are outdated. Sometimes we get seriously damaged along the way, and we need to go into dry-dock to get ourselves put back in order. Scrape off the barnacles and replace some broken pieces, tighten some of the bolts and screws, and get the hull refinished… Then get back out on the river … or into the sea.

That’s the thing, see? Whatever happens, we have to keep moving, keep stretching, keep trying. It’s one thing to have bad things happen to us. It’s another, to let those bad things be the Main Defining Aspects of our lives. If you’re a victim of something, and then you start identifying yourself as a “survivor” of that — and you make that the main defining quality of your life, you end up handing over your identity, your humanity, your power, to that event, that occurrence, that misfortune.  And you lose part of who you are. Even if you ARE a survivor, when you make your life about survival, you make it about the thing you’re surviving? Make sense? I think it does. And it’s a damn’ shame.

Of course, it’s one of the most human things you can possibly do. We all want our pain and our struggles to matter. We all want our suffering to be acknowledged, so we don’t feel so alone. The thing is, everybody suffers. Everybody struggles. No matter if you’re rich or poor or thin or fat or young or old… or anything else of any kind. To struggle and suffer is human, and that’s that. The thing that sets us apart is what we do with that struggle and suffering.

We can stay inside our own hurt world and nurse those hurts because they are so deep and such a big part of our lives. Or we can remember that everyone suffers, everyone hurts, and sometimes what they look for most in life is not pity from others, but examples of how others hurt and suffer, but still move on… still keep moving… still deal with it all.

Because we do. We have to. If we don’t keep moving, keep learning, keep growing, we can end up atrophied in our pain, like leg muscles wither in a cast if it’s kept there a long time. Our lives, our abilities, our perceptions, our skills are like those muscles. Our quality of life, too. If we don’t keep using it, we will lose it. If we just give into the easy stuff in life, the simple stuff, and we never stretch ourselves to do better and be better… what chance have we got of truly becoming all that we can be?

What chance indeed?

That being said, it’s time for me to get moving. I’ve got some errands to run, and then I’ve got to help a friend with an event they’re hosting. I’m not taking on too much today — I’m still feeling a bit sick. But life goes on, and it doesn’t wait for me to feel better, to offer its opportunities and chances for positive change. So it’s time for me to get up, get moving, and get on into this day.

In closing, I leave you with this, which someone shared with me the other day. Spend the time. It’s well worth it.

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Author: brokenbrilliant

I am a long-term multiple (mild) Traumatic Brain Injury (mTBI or TBI) survivor who experienced assaults, falls, car accidents, sports-related injuries in the 1960s, '70s, '80s, and '90s. My last mild TBI was in 2004, but it was definitely the worst of the lot. I never received medical treatment for my injuries, some of which were sports injuries (and you have to get back in the game!), but I have been living very successfully with cognitive/behavioral (social, emotional, functional) symptoms and complications since I was a young kid. I’ve done it so well, in fact, that virtually nobody knows that I sustained those injuries… and the folks who do know, haven’t fully realized just how it’s impacted my life. It has impacted my life, however. In serious and debilitating ways. I’m coming out from behind the shields I’ve put up, in hopes of successfully addressing my own (invisible) challenges and helping others to see that sustaining a TBI is not the end of the world, and they can, in fact, live happy, fulfilled, productive lives in spite of it all.

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