Well, It’s been a few weeks…I’ve had to figure out what to do with this pain. I found out I have a 5mm herniated disc on my L4/L5 vertabrae, it’s the most physical pain I have ever felt, including four child births and three foot/ankle surgeries, so it’s taken me more than a minute to breathe through this one. Pain stifles my creativity and pain medication does not agree with me. It makes me sad, and sick. Add that to not getting to play volleyball or go to yoga and it feels like a self imposed quarantine. But that’s what I’ve learned, the healing happens and the inflammation subsides when I slow down instead of trying to push through. So that’s what I’ve done. I’ve been humbled by the people who reached out to see if I was doing ok, it’s amazing for me to see the connections that I have made through writing and it always feels good to know someone is thinking of you, so thank you;)
Thursday I had to get a prescription filled at CVS and when they said it was going to take 20-30 minutes, I walked outside and decided to buy myself an ice cream. I hadn’t eaten much of anything because of the pain and, all my life, when my stomach isn’t right, vanilla ice cream is my go to. Right away I noticed that the line was filled with mom’s attached to little kids in Catholic school uniforms who had just finished their first day of school and my life passed in front of my eyes. The little girl in front of me had a first day of kindergarten sticker on her shirt and my little girl who used to be an afternoon kindergartener in a Catholic school uniform herself had just called to check on me and tell me to be careful with my back. Somehow she’s a Movement Science major and a junior in college. Facebook and Instagram are filled with first day of school photos, from kindergarten to college, and no matter how fast the time seems to have gone, some simple rules of engagement have stayed the same.
Be inclusive, not exclusive. I’ve had conversations with this theme with people from grade school to college this week and have learned this first hand in my own life. We can never expect to get the most from ourselves or anyone else if we don’t create communities where people belong to something bigger than themselves. We never get bigger or better by making someone else feel small or not included. It’s a memory I have that goes all the way back to preschool playgrounds and childhood sports teams (yes, I remember so many details from that far back). And if we are honest, in the end, the only thing we get by being exclusive is an overwhelming feeling of loneliness in the end. Community and connection beat elitism any day of the week.
Work to be your best, it leaves little time to judge anyone else. This has come up a lot lately, there seem to be so many different labels and segments that society, culture, or the news want to put on us. It feels like so much time is spent commenting or presuming what other people are doing, thinking, or feeling, when we are so much better off taking people at face value and charting our own course to whatever next great place we are meant to go. Being who we want to be in this life takes a lot of time and energy, judgment of anyone else and the road they want to take is a waste of time. Choose who you want to be around, and let the rest of it go.
The more we love the simple, the grander life will be. If there is anything I know that I have taken inventory of as my kids have gone back to school, it’s the feel of normal life, of waiting in lines, driving them places, and making plans. We know what it’s like to have things taken away from us that we never would have dreamed possible, so maybe we have a healthier grasp on the simple things that are really important. Good conversations, dinner with our friends, watching sports we love…these are just a few of my favorites. I’ve learned not to chase the next thing, because the truth is the stuff is never enough, but the people and experiences always are.
For the pain I have felt the last month, it’s been good to know that the things I have learned that have brought me through difficult emotional times can also bring me through physical pain. Deep breathes, gratitude, and asking the right people for help (I’m getting better at it) are lightening my load and freshening my outlook. Next week Luke and I are off to Spain, a trip I didn’t see coming, and now it’s almost here. Working on decompressing, my spine and my life, and enjoy it a little bit more, because our time, our health, and the people we love are enough and I’m determined not to take any of them for granted.
With love & optimism,