Slow Return

I’ve been distracted. Mentally, physically, emotionally. My mind has been elsewhere. I suppose part of it has been fear. Fear that the cause of the pain in my arm and shoulder might be worse than a pinched nerve. Or that whatever the cause, it might be a permanent condition. Or that the solution will reveal that my horrifically expensive insurance was designed with an “out” for the insurance company, so that I’ll be faced with either permanent pain or financial ruin. These are worries that have no place in my brain. They’re manufactured from fear; they don’t arise from facts. They’re part of an enormous web of “what ifs” that, once allowed to fester into their ugly potential, seem to take on a life of their own. I can control those fears, those stories spun by my imagination. But I’ve allowed them to pull me in and spin me into a tightly wound rubber band.

Among the consequences of my distraction is what amounts to my abandonment of my writing. That’s not healthy, because writing is one of the things that keeps me partially sane. It provides a release valve, albeit not necessarily an obvious one, for pressures I create inside my head.

I can’t blame my distraction entirely on my fears about my arm and shoulder pain (which, incidentally, has declined significantly and is far more tolerable than it once was). I’ve given my calendar permission to enslave me, which is a distraction in itself. I have obligations damn near every minute of every day. Most of them are obligations I’ve taken on willingly. A writers’ group meeting.  Working on a writer’s group website and sending meeting reminders and keeping club financial records. A class on weather warning. Taking a vehicle to a mechanic. A driving class from AAA to cut my insurance rates. Another meeting with writers. An international wine and food event. A tour of garden railroads. And then there are obligations I take on begrudgingly; visiting the chiropractor and scheduling a CT scan (maybe).  None of these really command my time. But they fill my time. I could cancel any one of them or all of them, but that would create issues of another kind. All these obligations and commitments rob me of time I should use to do work around the house. And they rob me of time when I ought to be writing.

I look forward to a commitment that will take me away from all these other commitments. We’re scheduled to go to Mexico next month, where we’ll spend ten days without obligations (I hope); just being lazy and absorbing the gentleness of place. Maybe I’ll write. Maybe not. I will be “on vacation.” That’s such an odd thought; being “on vacation” from retirement. I thought retirement would be like a permanent vacation. But vacations of the past, of which there were precious few, carried with them their own stresses. I suppose retirement is like a vacation, after all.

Meditation. That has some appeal. Meditation to bring about serenity or, at least, cool acceptance of circumstances. I’ll get back here more frequently when I’m ready and when it feels right.

About John Swinburn

"Love not what you are but what you may become."― Miguel de Cervantes
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2 Responses to Slow Return

  1. John, It is a natural phenomenon that we think about the worst possible scenario when we are facing an unknown. Between the time my aneurysm was discovered and the successful surgery to clip it, I had to have major distractions. Went to more movies than usual generally after I left the neurologist appointment. I have no absolute solution to this, just sharing the value of distraction. It’s challenging to stay positive when we are facing health issues. When i went through my treatment for breast cancer, i watched reruns of “The Nanny.” i had not watched the originals and probably would have not considered watching them. However when needed they did provide distractions and humor. Both of value when you are facing challenging health problems.
    Watch funny sitcoms. Read humorous jokes – whatever you like that distracts your mind from conjuring up all sorts of negative thoughts! Wish i had a silly joke to write here, but at the moment nothing comes to mind. Get your hands on a “Readers Digest”. There are always funny stories in there as well as positive articles.

  2. Teresa says:

    Well, if you think the shoulder hurts now, it’ll hurt 50 times as much if you start ‘meditating’. Don’t do it! ox Teresa

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