Thursday, December 20, 2012

Minor Setbacks and Slow Advances


I posted two days ago that I didn't think I would have much of anything to report about my recovery from surgery. That may have been premature. It's not that things have suddenly become interesting, just that my body is reminding me that things are not as easy as they sometimes seem. Today I haven't done anything out of the ordinary, but my shoulders and back are sore, I'm tired and lethargic, and I have had some issues with my mood. So it goes. But, rather than just let it go, tonight it feels useful and healthy to think it through a bit.

Yesterday was a busy day and it now seems to me that I over-reached a bit. I'm paying a price for that today with the aforementioned symptoms, but I'm not regretting much. First, what good does regret do me? Second, I'm not going to know what I can do until I push things a little. It's not as though I put myself back in the hospital or did any real damage, I'm just worn out from yesterday's adventures. I can live with that and accept it without feeling any need to regret or fix it.

This is the new territory I've been pushing toward in my life, accepting without out trying to fix. I'm acknowledging what is instead of trying to push back against it. That doesn't mean that I have to collapse or bow down to the way things are. It's just that I need to see and feel what is there, maybe name it and then let it be what it is. Doing that allows me to move forward rather than trying to go backward and erase.

It's not just the surgery that has me thinking of all this. It's in my relationships too. My parents and I struggle with this sort of thing, especially my mother and I. Today was a challenging day in that regard with the two of us butting heads about something that really didn't matter. After the encounter I thought about what had happened. I had bullied her out of my frustration and I knew that she had withdrawn and was licking her wounds somewhere.

Not long ago I would have left it at that and licked my own wounds, despairing that I would never be able to make her change. Well, that's kind of true. I can't make her change and it's a fool's game to try. That said, I can change me. I stood in the kitchen this morning, still fuming about the encounter, and then examined what was going on. I focused on what I was doing and had done. I tried not to think much about what she should have or shouldn't have done. I put it on me.

This isn't to say that I took all the blame. In fact, I didn't think about blame. I calculated in terms of cause and effect, being careful to consider mostly the causes I have control over and the effects that I want. Thinking that way, I got online and wrote her a quick email apologizing for being rude and suggesting a different way to go in the future. Half an hour later, having thought of something we could do together, I called and asked her to pick me up. We went out shopping for a gift for my wife that we ended up not buying.

During the trip, we were both skating around one another, both still struggling. I sensed it in myself and, maybe because I was thinking about my own difficulties, I sensed her working hard at it too. I realize that neither of us is very good at this sort of thing, we struggle with both the need to control and our feelings of helplessness. We push hard but we also feel like victims of situations. This similarity doesn't help us bring ourselves together because for so long we have both been waiting for the other one to become the person we need them to be.

I'm like that with my neck. I want it to be as strong as I need it to be, but I just had surgery. The best I can do now is push a little and see how it feels. Then, I have to pay attention to how it feels and adjust what I do. I can't go back and somehow re-do the things I've done and make my neck what it was. There's no going backward. When you get down to it, the only things I can do are to be aware of the world and myself, push forward, and write on.