Simplifying everything

I reset my tablet to factory settings over the weekend. It kept crashing on me, so I deleted Facebook and Twitter and my mail, removed the memory card, and set it back to the original state.

I may have lost some photos, but I don’t care. It’s simpler this way. And faster. Anyway, photos tend to feel like anchors around my ankles, as I’m trying to run. They just hold me back to a past that no longer exists — and may never have existed at all, thanks to my brain playing tricks on me and telling me things are different than they are.

Now I’m removing some programs from my laptop. It has been struggling. I’m sure that’s partly because it’s a Windows XP machine, and so much of the stuff that’s installed on my machine doesn’t actually support XP anymore. But it still works for me, so what do I care? I’ll probably get Windows 7 machine, one of these days. Just not yet.

First, I have to remove all the extra stuff I don’t really care about. And that’s actually a lot. For all my flailing and thrashing over the years, it’s painfully clear that precious little has come of any of it… because, well, there’s just been so much of it. I’ve been immersed in the busy-ness of it, what’s actually come of it? Precious little… other than my peace of mind. That’s no small thing, and it’s been central to my recovery over the years. It’s served a purpose, and it’s given me a lot of relief.

But now it’s time to move out of the pain-management state, and into a getting-stuff-done state.

It’s not an easy thing to do. This involves telling myself “No, that’s not going to happen. Ever.” And I have to tell myself that a lot. There are all these programs that I installed in good faith and with a great deal of hope, thinking that I could learn to use them and change my life in some positive way. It’s been a kind of exploration, really, and it’s been good. It’s given me a lot. But now, it’s time to look at the lessons I’ve learned and really cull out the pieces that I have realized don’t really fit for me. Those are the pieces that are holding me back.

You might say I’m at a “deepening point” — I’ve done the whole broad exploration thing, and I’ve learned a whole lot. Now it’s time to focus in and pinpoint the things that really speak to me, the things that really matter to me, the things that will sustain me over the coming years. Ever since my 50th birthday, nearly 6 months ago (has it really been that long?), I’ve felt as though I turned a corner. Like the starting gun had fired, and it’s now time to take off running.

Running in a certain direction, that is. I’ve been running in circles for a long, long time, like a puppy or a young child, stretching their legs and seeing where their racing would take them. I’ve explored, I’ve adventured, and it’s really gotten me a lot of great material for living. I realize now, just how valuable that has been for me, how young it’s kept me, how much more flexible and resilient I am, than many of my peers. Looking around at work, things are very, very quiet, and there are a lot of people who are caught up in fear and pain and genuine, well-justified anxiety about what their future holds.

I don’t have that same kind of fear and anxiety. I feel pretty confident that regardless of what happens, I will be fine. I suspect they will keep me on, because I am so versatile and so results-oriented. But it could be, they won’t.  Either way, I am fine.

As Tom Petty said so well, “The waiting is the hardest part.”

But this is how it is, when you are on the bleeding edge of anything. There’s so much disruption, there’s so much drama, there’s so much uncertainty. When you’re in the lead, you have to make your own future, not depend on others to provide it, and that’s what I’ve been doing my entire life. There’s no point in complaining about it — that comes with the territory.

It’s all about choice. It’s all about responsibility. And my choice right now is to simplify things.




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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