Asking the right questions

As the days and weeks have stretched into a month, I’ve gotten extremely frustrated with being injured. In the last two days I realized that I’ve been making it worse by certain attitudes I wasn’t entirely conscious of. One is that I should be able to keep up my usual standards even when injured (with the obvious exceptions of things I just can’t do, like hiking and biking) — making nice food for parties, attending my usual events and meetings, exploring a lot on vacation, cooking up all my CSA produce, signing letters, going to interviews…but actually, sometimes I just can’t. And it’s okay to buy wine instead of cooking, to give away my produce, to miss meetings and events, to just be glad I can take the vacation at all (nevermind take advantage of every opportunity), or to flake out (occasionally) because it’s just too much. No one is expecting me to be the same as my regular self except…me. And if I want accommodation, I have to ask for it, because it’s definitely convenient for other people for things to be normal, and if I don’t tell them I need things to be different, they’ll naturally do normal as a default.

This is the attitude that got me in so much trouble with my foot in the first place. According to the podiatrist I saw this week, if he had seen me at the initial injury, he would have put me in a heavy brace (stirrup air cast with cross-strap support) 24/7 as soon as I was up to walking. Instead I was initially advised to walk a bit once I felt comfortable, wearing just a basic elastic bandage. That was going okay until I decided to have three interviews in a week, including traveling to Victoria on Vancouver Island, and came back unable to walk more than a few steps again. Oops. So, now I’m in a brace that keeps my foot safe, but it’s over a month since I injured myself and the things I can do easily, although increasing in number, are also getting pretty old.

This morning I realized that I’ve also been relying on those things (sleep, read, listen to music, mess around on the computer), and allowing myself to be bored and frustrated by only having those actions to pick from, instead of thinking about all of the things that I can do that I might want to do. I haven’t even picked up my knitting; I only started raiding my housemates’ bookshelves, instead of relying on my own smaller ones, last week. I did go through my to-do lists, but I haven’t done much project work or writing; I haven’t been working on my Codecademy courses. I haven’t even tried practicing meditating, which is a kind of obvious thing to do when you can’t do anything. :)

Nothing is going to take away the natural frustration of what’s normally simple being hard, of not being able to do my yoga practice or run, or of missing the majority of the Portland By Cycle/Women on Bikes season. But asking myself the right questions — what do I want to do, that I can do? — will make it easier for me to get more things done, while at the same time making it easier and less stressful for me not to push myself to do what I simply can’t right now.

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