On Monday morning, a typical Monday, I looked at my schedule (to be found on my Filofax, laptop, iPad and phone – I am leaving nothing to chance and even less to my memory) and this is what it showed:
- Up at 6 to go to work – make muffins, scones and two dozen random desserts;
- stop at the market on the way home to pick up a few things I missed last week-end;
- Work at my laptop until ready to make a berry cake for the week;
- Drive to Fed-Ex;
- Take a walk with the dogs;
- Yoga class
The rest of the week was dotted with more of the same, a couple of social appointments, the dentist, Yom Kippur dinner and a concert on Saturday night.
Day one was wiped off with the delete button and the rest of the week would be drastically slashed too. On Sunday morning, a typical Sunday, trying to sidestep my mother, hard at work cleaning an already very clean floor, I tripped on the stairs and fractured a toe. The poor sausage is a funny shade of purple and does not take kindly to my walking around, even hopping doesn’t make it or me particularly happy. Which is how I came to feel sorry for myself, sitting with my foot propped up, musing on the perils of a too clean house. I need to find an Italian translation of “Dust if you must” and slip it into my mother’s suitcase.
Little and big annoyances have been piling up in the last few weeks. Some less manageable than others but all manageable. Put in the context of displaced families in Syria, unemployed masses and starving children I do not have any problems at all – just minor Western World hiccups.
But, if dropping my troubles in the context of the wide world always gives me perspective, I also recognize that my problems are still mine to solve and accept. As a lifelong introvert, I tend to view the world first as it relates to me, and only once I am able to get the “I” out of the way, can I focus on the world at large and how I can best operate in it. This has translated into years of guilt, of feeling selfish for immediately putting my perspective above all else, until the airline video with the oxygen mask dropping, warning you to wear it before helping the distressed (but still smiling) child, started to make sense.
A master at introspection but also at marching along to my schedules regardless, I think my accidental injuries, which also include slicing off the top of my left thumb while chopping onions, are forcing me to literally sit back and be still.
“Trying to keep you still is worse than forcing Ottie to sit” commented my friend Silvia. While a strong believer in trying to find the silver lining, I don’t think crappy things always happen for a reason. Or to teach us a lesson. That’s our way to reason disaster and some disasters just cannot be reasoned.
But, in this particular case, my body is probably getting cranky and is asking me to stop my frantic workouts, to parse out my packed schedules and to honor the changes I can tell are afoot. The sense of anxiety that is hovering like dark clouds can be chalked up to my hormones but it might also have to do with my unrealistic expectations and my need to accomplish more than is humanly possible – at least at 51.
It took a purple toe to give myself permission to do random things I would otherwise fit in slivers of time here and there or I wouldn’t have done at all, such as:
- looking for apartments for an acquaintance who is planning to come to LA for a few months;
- helping a fellow blogger answer a technical question (little does she know of my incompetence!);
- reading the new New Yorker cover to cover;
- submitting to Ottie’s incessant face licking (he knows something is amiss and is convinced his foul breath will improve matters);
- watching Nadal take Djokovic apart;
- spending some time feeling sorry for myself.
After an entire day spent getting better acquainted with a couch usually more appreciated by the dogs, I resumed spewing my opinion on Syria, fretting on the defacement of the lot next door under the proposed construction plan and devoted some energies towards combatting fracking.
Eventually, I hopped around the kitchen to make that berry cake. Because nothing, not even a fractured toe, will come between me and my weekly carbs.
Toe image found in the public domain – mine is not quite as bad