I recently had minor surgery and the doctor said that afterwards I needed to take it easy. Seems simple enough, but no. I immediately had questions. “So when you say take it easy, what does that mean?” He says I can take short walks but otherwise spend time resting. So again, I have to ask, “short walks, does that mean a few miles?” Because to me, that seems like a short walk. Apparently not. More like around the block or less. And are you sure I can’t swim? That’s seems like taking it easy. No. Not, just a little bit, just straight up no. It’s going to be a long six weeks…
As an athlete (of sorts) I push myself – I push to test the limits of my own body as much as anything else. So when I have to take it easy – it messes with my mojo, and in more ways than just physically. Take it easy also means that I don’t need to get up at 4 a.m. which is what I normally do to swim or bike or walk before work. It means I don’t get my daily dose of endorphins. It means my routine is completely thrown off, and I thrive in routine – I cannot emphasize that enough, thrive – especially when things around me are uncertain or changing. Keeping my routine keeps me grounded. Likely I’m not alone in that. But what I notice is that it throws me off kilter in a big way.
When I’m off kilter, off center, in this case because of the shake up to my routine (oh, and that surgery thing, that didn’t particularly make me feel fantastic), I’m more susceptible to triggers. Things that I normally would just roll through can cause me to fall apart. That happened this week. But in the midst of it, really in the midst of feeling like I was having a melt down (admit it – we’ve all had melt downs), I came to a better place. I took a few chances. Normally I am not someone who would ever admit, much less talk about, feeling like I’m less than 100%. It’s scary, and I have to be vulnerable – not my favorite. But I did this week, I talked to someone I really trust. Someone who I know has my best interest at heart and whose advice I know is the truth. It’s like she held up a mirror for me. Showing me all thing things that are going on right now– that take it easy stuff – and how that impacted me.
And she’s right. Here’s what I’m learning through this experience. It’s ok to take it easy. The world is not ending. Yes, I’ll lose fitness, yes, my routine is wonky, but it’s ok. It reminds me of when I was cycling a lot and could hold my own. When faced with a situation where I had to slow down on the bike, it was hard, and I mean really hard. Going my own pace was so much easier. But the joy in slowing down, in being a buddy to someone else on the bike, was that I got to know them better. I think maybe that’s the opportunity we have when we slow down. You get to know other parts of yourself. The parts you just skate by in the midst of busy, in the midst of routine. Slowing down gives space to be still, to see what comes up. In truth, it’s somewhat of a gift for those of us who push, who thrive in the known. It gives a chance to be still. So for me, with four more weeks to go – I’m going to settle in – I’m going to enjoy the still – I’m going to see what God brings up – and I’m going to embrace it.