I think something strange is happening to me. I’m becoming accustomed to not going anywhere. Granted, it’s difficult to get from one room to another, or even clean stuff up or prepare food, given my present status of barely walking. But for awhile, I was really antsy. I want to DO something. I want to GO somewhere. I want to BE with friends. But lately, I’ve gotten used to not going anywhere, doing anything other than what I do in my house, and being with my friends when they come to visit me. I’m slowing down, relishing my solitude, and not really wanting to do anything. I’m meditating, watching TV (way too much), watching educational videos from online courses, writing a little (finally), talking on the phone, singing my heart out to songs, and going at a snail’s pace, or maybe the pace of a sloth. I’m even having all my groceries delivered. I’ve never liked rushing, but once I was on, I was ON. At work, for instance, I never (maybe once or twice) had a job where I could just sit around doing factory work, or on a computer all day. That’s not my style. My style has always been to move, to multi-task, to be with people, to Do. I’ve been a teacher, a waitress, a salesperson, and … I think that’s the bulk of it.
Oh wait! There was that almost 5 year period, after I quit college in my 3rd year and went to tech school for digital computers, where I was a computer technician, or as they called it in IBM, a computer engineer (we engineered nothing – we diagnosed problems, ripped things apart, and put them back together again. Well, let me modify that. I did a lot crying. It wasn’t my thing.)
But, as usual, ironically, I didn’t do anything usual. For one thing, I was a woman tech, and in 1980, that was very rare. I had one woman in my class and of course, we bonded, until she ran away from her abusive husband and went into hiding, but that’s another story. After a year at IBM as the token woman (affirmative action was a big deal back then), breaking more things than fixing them, they asked me if I wanted to be a dispatcher instead, which would be a lot safer for their customers.
I declined, and took a job for almost 4 years at a small factory that made dielectrically isolated integrated circuits. They were abysmal at it, but they were only one of two companies in the world that did this, so they survived. There, I made friends with all the engineers and we took hour-long lunches (unlike the worker bees who only got ½ hour) and played cerebral games like Go and chess and Bridge. Sometimes, instead of working, we created little fantasy worlds with creatures we made from the chips (ICs) and ruined wafers (not cookies, the basis for the ICs). I am talking about the degreed, nerdy engineers here. A few of them were older, like Ira and Howard, who took me on as a surrogate daughter. Ira had a fear of germs, so if I ever had to use his phone, he would Lysol it immediately afterward. So, yea, that job was like being in camp. I was, of course, the token female again, and I loved it. I was in my 20s, and quite adorable, so I dated some of the engineers (I had an understanding with the man I lived with – we had Friday evenings to do whatever we wanted with whomever we wanted, and at other times, we had one of those new military policies – don’t ask, don’t tell. Anyway, my tech job at Dionics was mostly fun. I finally decided that I didn’t like electronics, saved my money, and took off to backpack around Europe.
But I digress. In short, I’ve rarely had times in my life where I just sit around. Besides outside jobs, there was the raising of children, which pretty much required me to be ON all the time. So, sedentary has rarely suited me, except for a few down days of rest, repose, and rejuvenate. And NOW…well, I’ve never laid down so much in my life. It’s quite comfortable, actually. I don’t seem to mind it as much as I should. I can do almost everything from my bed (except eat – I don’t like crumbs and spills in my bed – never really understood the whole breakfast in bed excitement. Not to mention, who can actually digest when you’re in a semi-reclined position, which they do at Passover seders, but only for a few minutes, and it’s mostly symbolic. Nobody really reclines.)
Well, back to the NOW. Since walking is agonizing, and driving wasn’t an option for several weeks, and laying down is so comfortable, I’ve become quite adept at doing things in a supine position. I can’t decide if I’m becoming lazy, or just accommodating? My energy levels don’t seem to be in decline; I would have thought with the lack of movement, I’d be more tired, but … not really. I’ve lost a few pounds, even with barely any aerobic exercise, because I barely eat and I tend to eat super healthy. So, it scares me a bit. When I can move, will I return to my old patterns of attempting to fill my moments? Of becoming distracted from personal growth? Is this an insidious way for my body to force me to learn these skills? Because, thank you, Body, if it is, but I think I can integrate my new patterns into having a healthy, mobile body. In short, I am slowing down enough to be with myself. Personal growth? or too lazy or scared to figure out what’s next for my life?
As I think about it, I’m going to determine what I want to glean from this experience. Make time every day for meditation. Make time every day for affirmations and gratitude. Make time for exercise. Don’t go to every little thing out there in the world because I think I’m missing out. (the even have an urban dictionary term for this now; it’s called FOMO = fear of missing out) I love new and novel experiences, but I don’t have to participate in them all. I can say NO to some things, maybe to many things. I can ask friends to come to me. Be in the present moment as much as possible. Break old habits that no longer serve. Mean it. Do it. Don’t give it lip service. Make self care and self reflection a priority. Continue to learn and practice how to align my heart with my brain and mitigate stress. Don’t take things personally – be objective. Remind myself frequently to drop frustration, anger and impatience for higher emotions. Have compassion. Rewire my brain as necessary. Sit still. Be the one who is in charge of my body as much as possible, not the other way around. Learn to create.
I’m not really sure what comes next, but I am taking this time to learn how to be okay with setting some intentions and seeing what possibilities present themselves to me. It’s a bit of a weird feeling. I’ve always been a planner, an organizer, and set goals. I’m learning how to do less of that, and get comfortable with being open to new ideas. Either way, I can and do MANIFEST my DESTINY. Retirement, let’s get acquainted.