A lesson in perspective hits hard. Like, really hard and really fast.
I recently spent a fabulous 5 days soaking up sun, bevvies, and downtime with my bestie and her crew at their family cabin. Mike and I had, for the first time in a long time, found ourselves apart for the weekend – he was having an equally sunny and fantastic weekend at our friend’s bachelor party in Montana. While nervous to drive out to the cabin alone, I knew a 6 hour solo venture would be worth the R&R at the end, and I’d ridden this route nearly every summer for over 16 years. Nothing to worry about.
While at the lake, I had my usual bouts of insecurity, though thankfully the lighting in the bathroom was ultra flattering, and I was rocking the tan leftover from my wedding (proving that baking in a tanning bed for 6 weeks truly does build up a good base tan). I was feeling the effects of two weeks of honeymoon indulgences in Europe, a lingering hangover from Stampede treats, and then struggling to get back on the wagon once we returned to normal life. I promised myself that when I got back home I’d cut back on the Hawkins Cheesies, I’d eliminate milk from my diet, I’d certainly start meal planning and food prepping. I’d make more time for mindfulness, spend less time on social media, work on this blog, damnit! I’d be a better wife, a better daughter, a better teammate at work. I’d show my boss how driven I was, the value I added, the career path I’m paving for myself. We’d start trying for a baby (though, not trying, trying, just not NOT trying, ya know). We’d find a house that we loved, we’d save more money, eat out less, love more, waste less. And I was so, SO excited to start training for my next half marathon (which I’d obviously run faster than the last).
So, sun shining, I worked to set the guilt of further indulgences aside, and instead grabbed a soda water between bud lights and rice crisps (seriously). My bestie assured me I still looked bangin’ in my bikini, and YOLO, enjoy yourself, girl. I’d get to commence beating myself up once I got back to reality at home. No time for self-deprecation at the lake.
Tuesday afternoon rolled around and I’m back my car, prepping myself for my super safe drive back (remember this is my second time on this route alone, now). Check all the safety boxes; safe driving shoes, sun glasses, opened water and snackies, and a playlist that will keep my attention on the road until my first stop. Quick text to ol’ hubber to let him know I’m on the road and it’s 10 and 2 on the wheel, baby. Go time. I was driving toward my new goals list. En route to improving myself. To live my best life. This playlist is alright, but I’ve heard better. Will need some new music for my next race. Add that to the list.
Then it all stops. It matters not. Out of nowhere a truck pulls out in front of me and my car slams into it. Loud, then bright white, then silent.
I’m out of the car now, I’m on the ground with complete strangers who are holding me, talking to me, wrapping my cuts, keeping me safe. I’m in the ambulance on the way to the hospital and I’m being told I’ll be OK. I’m in triage waiting for blood work, and tetanus, and treatment for the shards of glass in my hand. An X-ray to determine the severity of damage in my hips. I’m strapped to a board with a neck brace on for nearly 5 hours. I’m alone and waiting for my bestie to hold my hand. Waiting for her to update Mike, and my mom, and my boss to tell her the work that I had planned won’t get done. And why am I still adding to the list?
I’m home now, bloodied and bruised, but no broken bones or stitches required. My car exploded on impact and I walked away from it like a mother trucker. I can’t move more than 500 meters without pain in my hips, and I can’t lift my own legs in and out of the car – the car that Mike drives because I’m too shaken and likely still too concussed to drive myself. I write e-mails at work that make little sense some days, and it takes me longer to process simple instructions. I can’t make a full dinner at home without sitting to take a break, or just giving full directions from the couch. Sleeping is interrupted because I can’t roll over without squashing my bruised hips or using my upper body to hoist over my heavy legs.
So perspective. It hit me hard and it hit me fast. These days, instead of beating myself up for only running 5 km, I celebrate walking to the coffee shop and back, and swinging my legs into bed on my own. The bloated tummy I used to huff and puff about at the end of the day gets a break, as the lymph nodes in my hips are slowly draining, and my organs are healing from digesting codeine and Advil. The argument over whose turn it is to clean the bathroom is officially redundant.
Maybe my new perspective will last, but likely it will fade. I’ll grow impatient again, and I’ll create new goals to chase. But for now I threw away the list, and I’m doing what feels right, for the first time in a long time.