In January, I went to see my doctor to check in on my "Don’t Let’s Call It a Diet" progress. I told her I feared the possibility of reaching a mental plateau and felt it would be a good time to make some sort of change in the program. I wanted to join a gym, but I also wanted to continue my commitment to doing this process in a healthy and non-injurious way. You see, I have a tendency to go 100 miles per hour at everything in my life, and I have a history of injuring myself, and injury tends to tank an exercise program, and you get the picture, I’m sure.
My doctor recommended a highly-supervised gym at which I was likely to find myself one of the youngest participants. After a few weeks of failed attempts to fax the doctor’s permission form, I finally went in for an evaluation January 31st. For several weeks, I followed the slow-moving progression of the weight-lifting program. It coincided with a frustrating weight loss plateau, but I reminded myself that I was in it for the long haul, a life change, not a race. No need to go 100 miles per hour, right?
Then came a week in which several things happened to coincide. We had two big snowstorms, and I had to do all the shoveling since Pure Luck was away. The snow was very heavy, and we got rain at the end of the storms, making the snow wetter and heavier. Next, Molly hurt her shoulder running in the snow and needed lifting into and out of the car. She weighs 95 pounds. That’s a lot of dog. Finally, feeling heroic and immortal, I pushed myself at weight-lifting.
You can hear what’s coming, can’t you?
I hurt myself. It’s hard to say whether any one of these situations was the culprit; it may have been a combination. It probably was. I didn’t have a choice about lifting Molly, nor about shoveling the snow (and I did take help where I could get it), but I did have a choice about the weight-lifting and must admit I hurried myself unnecessarily.
So, for the past five weeks, I’ve been suffering a range of symptoms starting with back strain/pain and quickly involving numbness, tingling and at times, pain, in my arms and hands. During the Big Event Cruise, I added hand and wrist edema to the bouquet of symptoms. That swelling, which I hoped was related to the heat, has not diminished since I returned home. I guess I’ll be going back to the doctor. I have to wonder if going to a chiropractor (one of the doctor’s suggestions, in addition to massage and seeing an osteopath) was not the best idea.
For the moment, I have limited strength in my hands and wrists. Knitting is out. The gym is out. And I have an overall feeling of having pulled myself too hard, the shock of recognition that the 46-year-old body is not as strong as the 46-year-old spirit. And perhaps the spirit needs a break, too, needs to not go 100 miles per hour, needs to relinquish the attempt to be as perfect as possible at work, at life, at motherhood, at discipleship, at all the things that feel most important.
And I just hate that. It’s hard to let go of the idea that I need to continually prove myself. When I played the Six Word Autobiography meme in other people’s comments, I found myself writing something like "Proving I Am Not a Mistake." I do know this goes back on some levels to my history as an adopted child, but it has become a habit of mind.
It’s much harder to break free of our own mental constructions than to break free of circumstantial constrictions.
I have tried to do it by getting that running start, by going 100 miles per hour, but right now I think it may be time to sit still and do nothing, to simply sit still and be.