You know how sometimes in life, things just hit you?
Well, not literally. I mean, at least I hope not literally. Granted I guess I’m living proof that literal “get hit by stuff” happens, but I digress…I’m talking about that moment where A is just walking along, minding it’s own business and all of a sudden B comes barreling in out of nowhere and BOOM. You know? Yea, moments like that.
I had one of those moments recently and it was after that A and B collision where I felt like I deserved to do a literal face palm, sigh audibly, and just lean all the way forward till my head landed on my desk. The physical response wasn’t because I was upset with my A and B collision, just more like shocked and embarrassed it took so long for it to happen.
This is probably making zero sense.
On occasion I look back at my past blogs and read/skim through some of the memories. It’s fun to see the pictures and be reminded of all the stories. I’ve noticed that in almost all of my blog posts, I seem to come to some sort of new conclusion or life lesson. I guess that’s just what happens when you take the time to pause and reflect on moments of life. You know, when you’re writing a blog post, It’s like you live and re-live those moments in your head as the words flow out of your fingers and onto the computer screen. You see and notice details of that time you’re reflecting on that would have likely been lost without the replay. Naturally, that lends itself to learning some lessons and recognizing values that were probably overlooked on “first experience.”
I talk about the excitement of moving forward, but not forgetting what once was.
I talk about really being thankful for each day I’m blessed with.
I talk about actually living in the moment, being content slowing down to experience each day.
I talk about a lot of things and goodness, looking at just 3 of those things, all I can do is shake my head back and forth at my own hypocrisy. I’m terrible at just being content – I’m a perpetual perfectionist. I’m even worse at slowing down (ask any of the employees at Walmart).
Since my injury, my life has been on a sort of “pause”–at least in the sense of the world’s eyes. I’m not currently in school and don’t have a full time job, but am instead working towards achieving those things through the necessary pathway of steps. But really, my life is everything but paused. From volunteering, to studying, to working on my athletic skills, to speaking, I always have plenty going on.
I have always had plenty going on. Yea, I took a few months after my injury to cope and grieve, but the things I quickly encountered, the perceptions and stereotypes that flew at me head on, I felt like I needed to change things. I needed to make a difference. I needed to show everyone that I was okay, that paralysis isn’t that big of a deal, and that I am perfectly happy living life in seated form. Seriously. I repeat. I am okay. I am perfectly happy living life in seated form.
But there are always two sides to every story—even when that story comes from the same person.
The other day, my Mom, sister, and I went to the mall for something or other. I’m a terrible shopper because I’m such a cheapskate, but that makes me an excellent browser. Anyway, it was the first time I had been at the mall for quite some time and lo and behold it was all bedazzled up for the holidays.
There was just something remarkably festive about that bustling atmosphere. It was cold and dark outside, but inside the lights were bright, the music was cheery, and the decorations were all hung and pointing towards Christmas. We browsed at different stores, naturally pausing a Bath and Body Works to smell the countless candles. I managed to encounter the scent I always used to put in my wallflower in my dorm room at college and nostalgia quickly set in. We moved on to more clothing related stores and as my Mom browsed and my sister tried things on, I found myself just staring blankly at a pair of pajamas.
There wasn’t anything special about those pajamas, but I just stared at them. I felt like the store music got louder and it was just me, staring at pajamas.
Staring at pajamas that looked awfully soft, but I sure didn’t want to have to do all the work required to try the stupid things on. Pajamas that looked cute on the hanger, but I was convinced would lay funny on my paralyzed body parts.
Staring at those pajamas, I realized I really missed things from my walking life.
You know whats funny and maybe even stupid? Those things I realized I missed have absolutely nothing to do with the physical act of walking, but instead all the things that stem from it. Trying on clothes, abdominal muscles that actually contract… all these stupid superficial things that don’t matter a hill of beans. But I miss them.
I think I spent so much time and so much effort trying to prove and show everyone else (and myself) how “okay” with my life change I am, that I pushed aside and never bothered with the part of a normal response of just missing something. Alright, so that was part A of my collision moment.
So what about the actual collision?
Well Part B was later that evening. Part B came along to collide with part A when I realized it was OKAY to miss those things. *Insert explosion noises here*
It sounds and seems so ridiculous looking at that in hindsight, but that was something I never considered. I assumed to move forward and to show the world and myself that I was okay, forward was where my attention needed to be. While that’s probably true to some extent, I took that a little to much to heart and thought that meant if I realized or if I admitted missing something from walking life, well then I wasn’t really okay.
That’s obviously nonsense.
I do miss things you walking creatures take part in without a second thought. I do miss how easy some tasks are when you can stand up. I do miss some remarkably superficial things about how my physical self looked and functioned in its non-injured form.
But more importantly, that is Oh-Kaaay.
It’s okay to remember with a dash of sadness,
but never forget to appreciate the present and be ready to embrace the future.
It’s okay to miss what was because I am okay with, no, love what is.