Digging Your Way Out

This year, for the very first time in my life, my friends and I did something that I've always imagined people do on December 31. On New Year's Eve, we sat around a table and each said what they wanted from the new year. I didn't yet know that, at least for me, the new year was going to do some taking before she did any giving. But, a table full of adults - genius, funny, smart, talented, loving, giving adults - largely admitted that we were unhappy with how we were choosing to spend our days. But, we didn't end the dinner on a depressing note. We lifted one another up and talked about our strengths; we encouraged. It was one of the most hopeful New Year's celebrations that I've ever experienced. Fifteen days later, things took a turn for me. I'm glad that I don't remember being hit by that truck, because the struggles of becoming whole again have been difficult enough. I have more doctors than I can remember at times. Yes, still.

It's been almost four months and I've been trying to get back to normal physically, mentally, cognitively, and in other, very unexpected aspects of life.

But, then you realize that maybe getting back to "normal" isn't going to make you happy at all. I had real hope at the beginning of this year. This was going to be my year! Everyone said so. Then I got thrown into this metaphorical pit and I've been scraping my way out of the darkness. One goal - getting healthy.

Now, as my health begins to return, my goal inevitably begins to change. Things are slowly going back to "normal". Then, I remember that I didn't like what normal was. My initial plan was to discard normal and look for something new.

I was raised to work. Do what you have to do to support your family. I've tried really hard to fit myself into that model, but some days I'm not even good at being the square peg trying to fit into the round hole; some days I'm just an amorphous goo that wants to explore the whole space of the puzzle, finding the corners, exploring the curves, and spilling over the sides to see what else there is.

So, if I do all that stuff that people are supposed to do, if I keep reaching from middle management to senior management, what does that get me? Because right now I'm having trouble looking at myself in the mirror. I'm wondering where my self respect went.

But what happens if I do something else, something that's scary, and I fail? I don't go down alone; I drag my spouse (and my little dog!) down with me. And the HBO doesn't come with us.

I keep thinking of a line from a Jabe Beyer song, Where the Mountains Don't Go: "Victory ain't always what it claims to be and happiness don't always bounce you 'round on it's knee." Happiness isn't an easy road for everyone. God knows, it never has been for me. Which fear is worse: the fear of living a life of some comfort, but amid mediocrity and unhappiness? Or the fear of failing yourself and those you love?

For some people, the choice is easy. For me, it is grueling. I think it's time to make the choice.