Eight weeks ago tonight, I had just arrived in my hospital room, was still refusing pain meds (ha! for a couple more hours until reality kicked in!), and couldn’t quite believe what had happened. I’d been in the midst of one of the best rides of my season, and in a split second, not only did my sweet ride stop, but so did normal life as I knew it.
Life was pared down to its basic functions: keeping the broken parts still, controlling pain, adding or subtracting blankets, inputting adequate food and water, and managing the resulting output. And watching the Tour de France. I knew that laundry, dishes, grocery shopping, bill paying, floor sweeping, dog walking, and – oh, yeah – working, still had to be done. But they wouldn’t be done by me, so there was no use worrying about them. Michael kept up admirably – as well as one person can do when faced with the work of two – and also stayed with me every day at the hospital and then as much as I needed after returning home. We basically agreed that dirty dishes, laundry, and floors would still be washable – if grosser – when we got to them. The important thing was to recover.
Now that I’m walking without crutches and have managed the stairs at the YMCA, Ma Nash’s house, and the Redwings game, I decided I’d finally venture up our stairs this afternoon. I’d been living entirely on the first floor since coming home, and the scene upstairs was a little bit eerie. The sweatshirts in the baskets of not-put-away-yet clothes told me that the weather must have been a little bit chilly in the week before my crash. The directions to the June 18th Lake Placid training camp were still on the bathroom shelf, where I’d left them upon unloading my duffel bag. Socks from my late-June Sierra Trading Post order were still in the packages. The “Get to Know Your Rochester Redwings” newspaper clipping from Michael’s mom had blown off my desk and onto the floor. It was like I’d stepped out of my life two months ago and just today stepped back in.
Seeing a snapshot of my life laid out in “stuff” also made me think about where my head was a couple of months ago. I’d just come off a Lake Placid camp that kicked my curly little butt and taught me a ton about myself as an athlete and person. I was moving a thousand miles an hour, between workouts, work, and home. I was trying to catch up on housework but not quite getting there. I was psyched for some warm weather and for the Musselman aquabike, the longest race I’d ever tried. I had just planted the flowers that had been sitting in 6-packs on my porch for a month. I was running to keep up with my life but not always getting there. I was really ready for a vacation but didn’t see one on the horizon.
And honestly, this accident gave me a break. (Ha! So punny!) I didn’t really want this kind of vacation; I was thinking more like a week off to ride bikes with Michael and do projects around the house. But this is what I got. In the midst of the discomfort and inconvenience, I got a chance to look in at my life from the outside. To literally stop for two months and look around. To strip my expectations of myself down to the very basics, and then rebuild them one by one. This is a golden opportunity to throw off bad habits, to jettison expectations that aren’t reasonable or important, to keep a little more focus on the things that really matter.
More on all of this later; it’s almost time for me to turn into a pumpkin. Suffice it to say that this was a really nice day – Redwings game with Michael in 145 degree heat, short walk in Kershaw Park until my knee started complaining, yummy Thai-ish peanut stir fry for dinner, good book to read when I FINALLY finish writing this. I’m a lucky girl.
So today I got to see a snapshot of myself, as represented by my things, kind of frozen in time.