Last week I had another little health setback. My body has been unreliable so I often feel like I am moving two steps forward and then five steps back. One of my big pain issues stems from my elbows and if my elbows are hurting then the hand pain worsens to the point that sitting at a desk and typing hurts with each keystroke.
I couldn’t do my usual ALDI route since I needed to rest my arms so I took advantage of the groceries-to-go instead so I didn’t have to lift bags. In a total God moment, a girlfriend pulled up next to me to pick up her groceries too.
First of all, steroids are THE WORST so I was a big sobby mess when I saw her, but the conversation I had with her was the stern-I-love-you-but-this-can’t-continue conversation that I needed to hear. As a nurse, she talked me through changes that I needed to make in my life.
I needed to acknowledge that this disease is not going away and that it may be progressive.
I needed to go to physical therapy and not talk about doing it someday.
I needed to structure my workday in a way that makes sense for my body and for my business, utilizing the hours that I feel best.
I needed to save my typing hands for the important stuff and let social media be more for my business.
I needed to start finding shortcuts for work, speech recognition programs on days that are hard, an assistant for the site, and just being okay that someone else might need to help me.
I needed to make rest a priority and not push myself through pain when I shouldn’t.
She’s good, right?
The next day, I started putting in calls to get lined up with physical therapy, I put my phone on do not disturb so I could work in the daytime hours when my hands felt their best (it is a quick decline), and I made one other call…
To a counselor.
He actually suggested that I open up a bit more to you because being vulnerable is a lot more attractive sometimes than being perfect.
We shall see!
I felt like I had worked through these health issues, but I haven’t. I can’t seem to ride the wave of setbacks and chronic pain in the way I want to. I want to put this BEHIND me because I don’t even want to talk about this anymore. I don’t want to be a burden to the people that love me so, frankly, I’d rather pay this guy to listen to my whining for an hour and have a better time with the people I love.
I actually had no idea how all pent-up this was until I started hiccup-sobbing in his office before I even sat down.
There was a lot of blubbering and personal stuff, but I will try to give you a less exciting example of one thing that upset me to demonstrate what we talked about.
“I can’t even go to the (hiccup) gym because of my elbows.”
“Why not? Did you talk to your instructors and see if you could modify? Do you think they would understand if you needed to take a breather or skip the things you couldn’t do? You see things as black-and-white, but they don’t have to be that way.”
Living in the gray is not something that I can naturally do. I’m a go-getter, a perfectionist, a people pleaser, a goal setter, and an overcommitter (not a word, but it should be!)
Today I started making a list of the things that I do where a gray hue could exist.
Black- I make a fantastic meal to wow my whole family.
White- We eat cereal and I feel like garbage.
Gray- I start stocking up on a few convenience food items so I have a few nights off from cooking.
Black- I manage my time really well and feel productive.
White- I don’t work and watch Netflix, stressfully doing my deadline on the day of the project due date.
Gray- I work for a few hours and then let my body rest. I can come back to it the next morning because I plan ahead.
Black- I maintain a pristine home.
White- I let it go to hell in a handbag.
Gray- I try to pick up, but hire someone to help me clean every other week.
Black- I do everything because I am the only one who does everything the right way.
White- I can’t do everything so nothing gets done. I resent all the sloths in my home.
Gray- I make a list and ask everyone to help me. It isn’t the way I do it, but I have to be okay with that. THIS ONE IS HARD!
Black- I spend my week socializing with friends and get behind on my work.
White- I spend my week working at home alone feeling isolated.
Gray- I schedule more meaningful times with friends having coffee and still manage my work.
Black- I push through my pain so I can have an incredibly productive week.
White- I don’t do anything because I’m having a bad day.
Gray- I do what I can, but I don’t push through creating another setback for my life.
Black- My body feels great and I go to the gym.
White- My body doesn’t feel good so I sit on the couch all day.
Gray- My body doesn’t feel good, but I plan walks with family and friends. I get fresh air and keep my old joints moving.
You get the idea!
Pulling back the curtains is always humbling.
It also, I hope, makes me more human.
I share this because maybe I’m not the only one with black-and-white vision.
Perhaps, there is a whole new world waiting for you too in the gray.