I like to think of myself as invincible, that there’s nothing that hard work, stubbornness, and a bit of creative thinking can’t conquer. I want to have a positive outlook, feel strong and healthy, and pack my day full of meaningful activities. I’m never happier than when I have time to exercise, contribute fully to work, and spend time with friends. And in these goals, I’m sure I’m not that different from most everyone I know.
I haven’t been very invincible or strong recently. I haven’t been very positive either, and that’s leading me to feel like I have a dearth of meaningful activities in my life. I’ve been unhappy and just a little bit whiny.
I know this too will pass. I also know the source of all this angst: my health, which should be the foundation of all my invincibility. Right now, I’m fighting a battle with my arthritis and the arthritis is winning. So’s the damn sprained/broken/disabled ankle that’s keeping me even more sedentary than usual. Without good health, I’m fatigued all the time. Without mobility in the ankle, I can’t generate endorphins that make me feel invincible. Without endorphins and a strong body, my world shrinks to three basic things: work, food, and sleep.
I keep telling myself to be patient, that this flare up will pass, the ankle will heal, and I’ll find invincibility again. Gentle is the key word for today.
I’m pretty sure I fractured my ankle. I waited almost 6 weeks semi-patiently while the sprain healed, expecting that the pain would disappear. The acute swelling and discomfort of the sprain eventually abated — much more slowly than ever before, but still moved in the right direction. I avoided aggressive activities like hill climbing, running, and most cardio activities while I nursed it back to health – relying instead on Pilates (6-8 classes a week!) to maintain some type of fitness level. And it worked, as the pain went away.
And then I went to Denmark, started walking between 4-10 miles a day…and discovered the pain had changed, but it was still there. Now it’s a deep ache inside with extreme discomfort if I try to push off with my right foot or do anything that requires me to place my feet on an un-level surface. It’s an even more worrisome feeling that a simple sprain wasn’t simple…and I’m headed back to the doctor as soon as I return to the US. For now, today is a rest day because my body (especially my right ankle) is screaming at me, after three days of hiking through Copenhangen.
I hate feeling infirm and old. I detest feeling less than fit and whole.
I’ve now been off of work for about 6 days, and my stress is starting to unwind as well. I find that my brain is fractured, too…I dislike this cynical and harried person that I’ve become. I’m still puzzling my way through how I’ll address the situation and increase the net happiness in my professional life. I’m approaching this as any good engineer should – mentally conducting a gap analysis and developing a remediation plan. The core gap seems to be that I feel very busy in my job, but I want more impact on my team, my customers, and my company’s strategy. Now I’m sorting through how I’ll make these things happen.
It’s good to have some mental space, to be able to make the jump from “human doing” to “human evolving” – hopefully I can continue the trend even after vacation.