[Tripping On…] Patient Patient Practice

For the first time in my life, I’m starting to feel the limitations of my physicality. When I weighed my heaviest and was in my worst physical shape, twice, I knew both times that I had the potential to regain my health through the steady application of constant effort. My route to recovery for my physicality now is almost the inverse. I must be patient with myself and do less now to do more later.

Internally, it’s frustrating, because there’s so much I want to do.

I have to practice becoming the patient patient by working within my means. Throughout the nearly five weeks since my surgery, each day, I have done the best that I could to balance that subconscious desire to still be productive – to write – along with my conscious desire to feel better. I’ve come to an interesting conclusion through all of this. Whereas before, and maybe this was caused by having such a limited schedule for doing things due to working a forty-hour workweek, I had to do so much in so little of time, now, I can meander through my tasks at my recovery’s pace.

I can’t go any faster than my recovering spine will let me.

This patient patient’s recovery manifests in actual progress in downsizing the “storage room,” or second bedroom, of the apartment-mansion. There are no sweeping changes when it comes to reducing large sections of clutter, whether it’s physical clutter or the psychological clutter that happens when we don’t focus enough on the present. Working within my means means that I am not lifting any heavy boxes, which sufficiently allows me to look through the physical objects that are taking up the most offensive space in my storage room. Mentally recovering – both from spine surgery and the constant addiction toward “more” – means doing less rigorous activities that may overexert me.

These past few days have been transformative for how I’ll operate going forward.

It’s only been within the past few days, maybe week, where I’ve felt any degree of normalcy. This would normally be the time in which I would try to do as much as I can. Instead, I am trying not to clutter my mind with too many thoughts. I chase down the errant errand, but only as far as necessary. For months now, I’ve collected all of my old pill bottles in an attempt to reuse them, where they ended up stacking up in one corner of my bathroom. During one of these slow meandries through my storage room, I considered how I might be able to use these pill bottles while I turned off the fan I have running in there sometimes, looked at my computer workbag, and realized that I could add three of them to the workbag for later projects.

Although I’ll work on my computer projects later, it’s fine making progress now.

Adding these three pill bottles to my workbag doesn’t mean I’m going to suddenly find myself working on one of my project computers. It means turning clutter into useable tools. This is the approach I need to take with life going forward. I may not have the physical space or mental wherewithal to do it all, as I once thought I could, but in actuality, I could not. All that happened was the mind and body weren’t coherent enough to finish tasks, only start them. I have to practice being the patient patient with myself and my projects if I want to any progress in the future, especially when I return back to work.

It’s not so much that I’ll completely lose the time I have off now.

Trading the time off I’ve had on long-term disability for the physical health that will allow me to return to work will be nice, and the time I will have otherwise potentially wasted – preparing for work, driving to work, sometimes even during the idle moments at work, and any other point during the day – can still be recovered; just not in the same capacity. While I’m driving, I might be thinking about what project I might want to tackle next. Downsize enough shirts to make a donation run? Rather than split my focus among several projects, as I’ve done up until recently, I could say “OK” to focus on that one task.

I might only have the energy to do that one task.

It’s fine if something else happens in tandem. Say I decide on donating a boxful of shirts and during that consideration process, I realize that I could sell a box of videogames. I could do both, provided the requirements aren’t entirely disparate. Considering whether I might ever enjoy wearing a shirt again aligns nicely with considering whether I care about owning a videogame, or would accept digitally playing it were I interested in playing it again, but there are oftentimes where the two don’t quite match, resulting in a cluttered physical space and mental space.

I have to be willing to be slightly less ambitious to be as ambitious as I want to be in life.

While my spine was recovering from surgery, I couldn’t focus on much of anything else other than that. The recovery process was my highest priority and I had to tend to it as best I could. These five weeks of post-surgery time has taught me something I may have lost while I was chasing after all of the ambitions of life: myself. That’s not to say that I’m the most important factor in my life. It’s more to say that if I do any action, say sell all my unwanted widgets, which could sacrifice my health… don’t. The problem is that it’s so easy to get caught up in the actions that I forget about myself.

I have to be more patient with the patient that is me.

I feel like I can live the life I want to live; it will just go a little slower.

Being more productive more means being less productive.

Quotes: None.
Sources: My personal and professional experiences.
Inspirations: I wrote “patient patient” in “Supermarket or Saturn?” and that stayed with me.
Related: Sober Living essays and Tripping On [The American Healthcare System] chapters. I used the Downsizing Zeal example as a primary point of this essay, so I’ll say it’s related here, too.
Picture: Template
Written On: 2020 October 03 [3:38pm to 4:09pm]
Last Edited: 2020 October 03 [First draft; final draft for the Internet.]
My big goal is writing. My most important goal is writing "The Story." All other goals should work toward that central goal. My proudest moment is the most recent time I overcame some fear, which should have been today. I'm a better zombie than I was yesterday. I'm not better than you and you're not better than me. Let's strive to be better every day.