Tanpo and I went walking on Friday and walked the “loop” in our neighborhood for the second time in my post-AVM life. This has actually been a goal of mine since I woke up in the 2nd Hospital and was chattering away, making lists of things I wanted to do when we got home. I told Mom where we needed to go shopping, and restaurants we needed to eat at, and I said I wanted to go walking with Dad but needed him to promise to hold my hand since after his triple bypass in ’09 I used to march him around the neighborhood but he refused to hold hands with me since he thought it was safer to meet oncoming traffic if we walked single-file. Dad said he’d hold my hand now, but my hands are occupied. I usually push Charles my Rice Baby (a stroller weighed down with 20 lbs. of basmati) when we go outside, but since E&R borrowed him to go on a Smithsonian field trip I pushed Jack, my blue transport chair. The loop is only 1.8 miles long, and it used to take a leisurely 20 minutes, but this time it took an hour and I needed to rest periodically in some random driveways. If Mommy had been home she would have come to collect me in the car around the 40-minute mark, but Mom was at the grocery store, and Dad’s evaluation of my physical condition indicated that a little rest in the shade would give me the boost I needed to walk several yards, so we eventually made it back home with me pushing the chair, not riding in it.
It felt like I was on the never-ending walk, and in a lot of ways, this entire experience is like an infinite do-loop. I’m not a coder by any means, but I took an intro to VBA course in B-school where we scoured our VBA for Dummies textbooks and emailed each other our models when they got stuck doing the same thing over and over and we were hoping a fresh set of eyes would uncover the infinite do-loop that was messing us up. I definitely feel like a hamster on a wheel as I struggle to regain the ground I lost this past summer as my left leg began to act up. I learned early on in Physical Therapy, however, that “the goal is for you to tell me before you pass out,” and then I met hardcore PT6 and his equally hardcore intern, PT7, so I’m used to people who mean business. I shouldn’t be surprised that Tanpo is one of them – my prior experience points to this tendency in him, I was just hoping to play on his paternal sympathies. Oh well. I think that he thinks the best thing he can do for me is push me to do more. So he does.
But its not just regaining lost ground that makes me feel like a hamster on a wheel – it’s every day living. At the same time that I love to celebrate life’s events with my friends, every time I learn of a new home, a baby born, or a promotion won my happiness is tinged with longing. It’s a longing for the kind of life that isn’t mine right now. I suppose, though, that lots of people feel the same way, meaning that they are in an infinite do-loop. Maybe it goes like this: Get up, go to work, fight traffic, put a square meal on the table, help with homework, supervise bath time, enforce bedtime, go to bed yourself, get up and do it again. I used to do that, minus the kid-related things, of course, and I was happy about it, because my life, although quiet, was purposeful.
A friend shared a B. Moore quote with me recently that said something like how we can live with pain a whole lot better than we can live with purposelessness. So when I think about my life today, yes, there’s pain, but it’s still purposeful – I’m just in “waiting mode” to see what the purpose is. In general, though, pain happens, but purposelessness doesn’t have to.