When my clock chimed 4:38 (ok, nothing chimed, I just noticed the digital clock in the upper right hand corner of my MacBook said 4:38, it just sounded really good to start with that dramatic image), I felt like I was totally done working. My brain had just kind of had it with writing reports in Microsoft Word. Normally at this point, I would make a note of what time I stopped working (I like to log this type of thing, a) just so I know how productive/unproductive I have been) and b) so I can estimate roughly how much more of my time my work will require and c) it makes me feel more serious about work when I am actually working, keeps me from giving into every impulse to check my email or whatever) and then I would goof off, looking at Facebook, blogs, or maybe checking in at Overstock.com to see when my new rug was supposed to ship, but I didn’t have to do that because today it finally came! It’s more vivid on the website than it is in person (in rug?) but it is awesome nonetheless and it goes with my whole lime green obsession. It was recently brought to my attention that nearly everything I own is either trimmed in, lined with, or just plain old is lime green, so I have decided to embrace it.
Anyway, today this was not the case. Today there would be no goofing off (at least not until much later), because I was in productive mode. Why? Because I said so. I decided there’s too much interesting, important stuff to do to waste time on the internet so I quickly cued up my laptop with a random Ted Talk, so it would be all ready for me to bring down in the basement and hit play when I would lift weights, right after my run. I checked the weather (cool but comfortable) and headed out for a 50 minute run with 8 short (20-30 second) hill repeats. As soon as I got back, I grabbed my computer and headed down to the basement. It was 5:45… I could get it done by 6:15 and then I would have about ten minutes in which to shower, change, eat dinner, and leave for my triathlon club meeting… In order for me to get out the door on time, one of these three things would have to be neglected, but I will let you guess which one that was.
I moved through my exercises, renegade row (I love this one, mainly for the name, and because it HURTS), plank, single legged squats, medicine ball sit-ups, etc. with purpose and focus, just like I was supposed to. Until Roger Ebert’s Ted Talk started to get really heavy. Did you know he had jaw cancer and now he can’t talk? Although I mostly live under a rock, I had heard about this, but it hadn’t really been stored in my brain so it was more or less news to me. And what he was actually saying, mainly about having to say goodbye to his old self and figure out who was his new self, and where was his place, as his new self, in his world… I wish this was a new concept for me too, but it’s not. This is the kind of thing I hear from my patients on a way too regular basis. I don’t know who I am anymore. I can’t do the things I used to do. I am a drain on my spouse. I can’t pick up my three-year old. I can’t coach my kids’ softball anymore. I used to enjoy hiking in the mountains. This wasn’t how my retirement was supposed to be. I have learned that becoming disabled gives you no choice but to reconstitute your identity, your life, your ways of participating in your family and your community. And Ebert talks a lot about that, but what really got me was when he started talking about how people mistake him for someone who is deaf and/or stupid (oh and I know, he can’t talk, watch the clip, you’ll see, its mostly his wife and a couple of his friends reading his speech)… Anyway, this was where I stopped mid-crunch to cry my eyes out.