I felt my left hand regressing a couple of months ago (e.g. weakened grip, greater chance of hitting the wrong keys on the piano, etc.) so I purchased a fancy coloring book from Costco. It has very intricate designs of animals from A-Z and is meant for people of all ages. It’s good for me bc I only color with my left hand and if you trace the line before filling in the shape it’s challenges my eyes, too. When I brought it home Josh saw it on the table and said, Aunty Ning Ning, maybe we can do this together. I was like, Of course!!! So he gathered up his colored pencils – the self-sharpening Crayola Twistable kind (so helpful for me!) and we went to town. Since I use my left hand we could sit next to each other and color simultaneously. Boo Boo pitched in occasionally. Man alive, that picture is so detailed it’s going to take forever. I’ve been on “A – Angelfish” forever. And there’s still more work to be done. I tried coloring some waves in yesterday but was appalled at my inability to stay within the lines. Look:
Some days are good, some aren’t so great. This morning I tried to play a hymn on my piano (the one from Oregon that Ai Ai and Tanpo set up in my room) but my eyes were jumping around so much I gave up (this was one I need the book for – not one that I can just play). Even on good days I have a high risk factor for skipping lines when reading music. That’s why when I played at the Ladies’ Tea I used plain lyric pages with the chord letters written above them and highlighted every other line in alternating colors so I’d have an additional visual cue to keep me on track. Disclosure: I don’t really know my chords – I just go with the letter I think makes sense regardless of accepted music theory. Additional disclosure: I still skipped lines despite my highlighting strategy.
This is how I roll now. I have come to accept that I will not always be able to color within the lines or read sheet music reasonably enough to accompany a group. I used to always color within the lines, and I was a good sight-reader (when you can play a song upon seeing the notes for the first time – FYI many hymns use the same chord patterns so you needn’t always pay strict attention to the page).
I like it when things go according to plan – when things follow the outline and you receive the expected outcome. Life isn’t like that, though. It wasn’t like that before I got sick, and it certainly isn’t like that now. I got asked recently about how I dealt with being terminated from my job. Short answer: not very well. I had a couple months notice that it was going to happen but I still cried grievously when it did. FYI the ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) does not cover cases like mine where there is no return to work timeline. I think Intel kept me on longer than they were obligated to and I like to make sure people know they took good care of me when I was well, and when I was sick. The time came, though, for us to part ways. I acquiesced in light of the written reports I have from a couple of my docs saying I cannot work etc. Many people are in a different, although still very painful, situation. Depending on the nature of your injury perhaps you have a favorable prognosis – it’s just that it’s going to take some time, and your employment plans or chosen career path have dissolved as a result of your injury. This is immensely frustrating since I’m sure you’ve been lining up the “right things” for your resume but then you were unexpectedly sidelined by illness or injury. Let me just encourage you for a minute: Even if you are taking time off against your will, this is not an unrecoverable situation. Yes, there will be a “gap” in your resume, and interviewers will pick it out and ask you about it. You have a great answer. It’s essentially an easy sell: e.g. I got sick, or I got injured and had to go to rehab/was in the hospital so I focused on XYZ.
This is an example of a hard sell: I traveled the world in order to find myself. I’m not saying that taking time off to travel is necessarily a bad thing (I definitely took time off, although not for travel) – I’m just saying you’ll need to spin it right during interviews. If you’re dealing with the illness/injury scenario the disappointment stings but may I suggest that you’ll need lots of energy to pursue Recovery at full tilt so when you re-enter the workforce you’ll be strong and fit for gainful employment. If you are concerned about your skills I firmly believe that they’ll keep if they were strong in the first place. If they were strong you’ll probably be predisposed to find ways to keep them from getting dull during your hiatus. Do some pro bono consulting, read some articles to brush up your acumen – anything. I think effort counts here. You’ll still need to spend most energy on getting well. But if you spend some time pursuing career-related activities you’ll be able to talk about them legitimately with future employers.
You’re planning for the future. And yes, you do have a future. Mine got derailed but when I get the memo on what the new one’s going to look like I’ll be ready.