Thursday, February 9, 2012

Attempting to Learn A New Skill

Pacing - A New Lifeskill that I must learn

I am trying to learn to pace myself.  That will new a new skill for me.  Perhaps, I've never really been good at pacing myself.  I've been thinking about what the ability to pace myself would look like to me.

  • Pacing myself would require that I am able to realistically accomplish what needs to be accomplished in a reasonable amount of time.  I'm not sure that is even possible for me because I am a life long procrastinator who never started on a project or writing assignment in a timely manner.  Starting early on a project has never been my style.  I think I wrote every writing assignment I ever had at the last minute.  That meant I would stay up all night writing while I was in college.  It also meant I seldom had time for editing or re-writes. 
  • Pacing myself would mean I would have to plan ahead.  Unfortunately, I've never been real gifted in the area of planning either.  If you want proof of that, look at where I planted a lavender plant.  (This unlovely photo of a trimmed back lavender plant in winter was taken to remind myself that I must consider how big the plant will grow when planting next to a walkway.  This point was driven home to me after I planted a row of lavender next to the walkway and by autumn I could no longer find the stepping stones.  The lesson:  Plan ahead.  Consider how much things grow in a realistic way. Use a measuring tape if you must, but spacing must be considered when planting.

Lavender in winter
The next year, I had to take out the rock used as stepping stones 
and place them farther away from the plants.

New pathway next to the lavender

  • Pacing myself would mean that I must consider other factors when getting to an appointment on time.  I can't give myself the bare minimum of time to get somewhere.  Traffic might slow me down along the way if I don't give myself enough time to get to my destination.  I might get lost.  The list could go on and on.  Again, this is a life-long problem for me.  I'm one of those who runs in the door of an appointment at the last minute, or if I'm feeling especially time conscious, I might be a few minutes early, but this is somewhat rare.  Pacing myself is truly a skill I need to develop and practice.
  • Pacing myself is essential now that I seem to be doing better since my fall.  I can't just jump in and schedule a full day's worth of activities.  I can't do this because I will crash mentally and physically, and that will mean I will be worthless the next day.  Pacing myself is essential for my total healing.
If I had any doubt that the last statement were true, I learned it yesterday.  My day seemed like a normal day would be pre-fall.  
  1. I met a dear friend for coffee in the morning.  I actually drove the mile or two from home and felt quite thrilled to be able to do that.  I felt well, and I also felt grateful for the independence I was feeling.  Plus, I was really looking forward to some time with my friend from high school days.  We've only reconnected in the past year or so, yet we are so much on the same wave length, it felt good to just chat, and compare notes on life, retirement, and consulting after retirement.  The time flew by way too quickly.  It was great to be out and about again.
  2. For the past six months, I have been serving on a committee at the University where I used to work.  This committee is working on a project to get accreditation for the English language program that is a part of the International Program.  I was worried about being able to sit through yesterday's two hour meeting.  I didn't know how I would do in an academic setting which would involve thinking, reading, writing, and discussion.  I've been very unsure of my language skills since my head injury and have noticed some problems.  Thankfully, I was able to be a full participant.  I listened.  I took notes.  I asked pertinent questions.  I made suggestions that were well received and noted.  In other words, it seemed I held my own while I was there.  In fact, I was asked if I would consider working as a paid consultant on the project.  (I am considering the offer.  Would I pace myself if I took it?)
  3. My husband and I had an early dinner/business meeting with our high school reunion group.  We have been a part of this group for several years now.  The reunion that we planned was in 2010.  The reunion group keeps meeting because we love to get together, and we are working on a memorial for our former principal who was the first principal of the high school we attended.  We have commissioned a sculptural relief honoring him, and we are dedicating the relief and naming the commons area of the school after him.  The work on this all began prior to the reunion in 2010, and we are finally completing the project.  
When my husband reminded me of the dinner meeting, I gave out a big sigh.  I wanted to go, but I also wanted to put on my pajamas and sit quietly.  I probably should have done that.  A person who was realistic about being able to pace herself would have done that.  

I barely made it through dinner.  We had to leave early.  My head was splitting.  I could barely utter a cogent thought.  I had to close my eyes and not look at the oncoming lights from the cars from the road.  I came home and went to bed.

Today, I have done next to nothing.  Well, I did write this blog post.  I also went for a chiropractic adjustment.  That always helps.  I am suffering more from the whiplash effect of the fall these days than the trauma to the brain.  

As I rest, I remind myself that healing  involves learning how to pace oneself.  It means one might not be able to jump right back into a busy lifestyle.  It also means I must give myself permission to be gentle to myself and to be realistic when it comes to learning what I can and cannot do at this point in time.  

I am grateful, so very grateful, for my progress.  Now, I must not rush ahead of myself.