Making Your Own Bed

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We got a new bed last Friday – which was a big event in this household.

I’ve been sleeping on the same mattress at home since 1997, which is the year that Rana and I opted to replace the landlord-supplied twin bed we’d been sleeping on for two years with a quality mattress.  I’d recently been diagnosed with Psoriatic Arthritis, and our current strategy of “sleep on the tiny, droopy, dusty bed on the floor” wasn’t working so well.

I remember the day The New Bed arrived — it took up most of the usable space in our bedroom, and we needed to cram a bunch of additional furniture into the “spare room” down the hall (Rana’s office).  Making the bed fit was a complicated game of Tetris, made even more inscrutable due to the plethora of furniture we had to store (we’d snagged my grandparents’ furniture when my maternal grandmother died and my grandfather moved into assisted living…but we hadn’t yet earned enough money to afford a house deserving of the furniture).

Sleeping on The New Bed was heavenly – it didn’t creak when we moved.  It didn’t droop and it had an actual bed frame.  We no longer had to sleep on top of one another — entire nights passed when we did not even touch while sleeping.  I remember being somewhat sad about the vast space between Rana and me.  It now took effort to cuddle, whereas before it had been nearly impossible to escape touching.

Fast forward to 2016.  At some point in the past year, The New Bed had given up the ghost, and had become squishy and unsupportive.  We’ve both had some back issues that I began to attribute to the bed.  So – we ventured out to pick a new night steed; we ended up paying less than what Rana and I paid 19 years ago (and for much better quality).  Thank goodness for continued productivity improvements and cost pressures…

The new bed is wonderful, but it doesn’t yet contain the same full list of happy memories and years of experiences as The New Bed of years past.  I’m sad to lose an old friend, even if my back is quietly celebrating our progress.

 

Stepping Stool

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I’ve been on a hiatus from most aspects of my life except for work.  I’ve taken a break from cycling, from social gatherings, and from writing.  I don’t have the type of personality that can withstand long absences from any of these pastimes that feed my soul.  I’m not even sure when, or why, or how I decided to eschew my favorite activities in favor of work.  I now recognize the tremendous error of my ways and I’m making changes.

I often tell mentees and people I interview that “life is a three legged stool, comprised of professional accomplishment, family and social connection, and health.”  I explain that one cannot be unbalanced in any of the three legs, or the entire platform simply doesn’t work effectively.  These words roll off of my tongue and I know them to be true — and I take them not only as gospel, but also as a completely achievable task nearly unworthy of mentioning because it’s so obvious.

Obvious doesn’t mean easy.  My deep confession today is that I’ve slipped — my health “stool leg” has been off kilter for some time, and I’m desperately trying to get it back on track.  My “family and social connection” leg is a bit short as well.  I’ve managed to isolate myself of connections and endorphins, making my platform unstable and potentially unusable.

Fortunately there’s a fix.  I had my first pain-free bike ride in six months.  I nearly cried with humiliation-laced relief as I walked up a steep hill, but ultimately completed a meager 15 mile ride.  I have a long way to come back from this hiatus, but I have the determination to succeed.  I will never take pain-free cycling for granted again.

I’ve got three social gatherings this week with friends, and I’m gearing up to visit family in Ohio at the end of the month.  I have big plans for more visits with family and friends later this spring and summer, and I’m going to celebrate my 40th birthday in style in September.

Here’s to balance.  It might be easy to identify as a source of strength, but it’s sure hard to implement.