I’ve had the opportunity(?) twice in a week to experience how life can change in a second. One was an inconvenience and an exercise of living ‘back in the day;’ the other was a painful here and now stop what you were doing because your priority has changed.
The first was a result of the California Cyclone Bomb rain event. I was at my brother’s house just east of the Oakland hills when it hit. The day before a typical California sunny day, like the classic calm before the storm. The small town was packed with people, many enjoying the nice day in local shops and supermarkets. The rain started in the early morning Sunday, a steady downpour with winds. As the day progressed the winds ramped up as did the rain. No problem – I’m in a comfy house, got my computer and phone and television, right?
Boomchakalaka - - power goes out. Doesn’t come back on. It’s not even noon. So, maybe a couple of hours: I can do this. The novelty ran out at two in the afternoon. Boredom set in at four. I read some magazines, meditated, pet the cat. Okay now it’s approaching six and it’s getting dark. Find candles. Couldn’t even read by candlelight – crackers, cheese and cold chicken and in bed by seven. No internet, but read a little from the computer still, again, getting bored. Conserving the phone battery I lay in the bed, the quiet except the rain, which I now resented, and a disturbed sleep.
This foray into life without electricity made me think about how leashed I am to it! As others here and across the nation know, we are spoiled silly with our ability to have internet and phone service, lights, stoves and ovens. When forced back to the seventies of no internet, no convenience is one thing – but even that could be overtaken by no lights, heat, stove/oven. We are spoiled. I am spoiled. Grateful that I am, too! Even as we speak there are those who don’t have those conveniences or security of shelter, electricity or a simple connection to the outside world. The inconvenience of that power outage has made me remember even though I may be put out for hours, be grateful for all that I still have.
Second? The day after I got back from my trip, now laughing at the series of events and thought processes I slipped in the bathroom and smacked my eye on a porcelain pedestal sink. I hit it right on the eye opening a tear on the lid and small other lacerations. While swearing up a storm my husband wants to see it. I’m afraid, I know it’s bleeding and just don’t want to know how bad it is. I want to run away from myself, run away from this new reality. “You’ll need stitches.”
I suffered all night with it. Ice all the time even in bed, knowing that hours later I was still bleeding. A quick appointment later I’m getting those stitches (on my eyelid!) wishing I was anywhere but there. I can’t see out of the eye, I’m throbbing in pain and don’t want to be me. I used my husband’s arm and hand like a seeing eye dog and wore sunglasses to hide my grotesqueness.
Now, a couple days later I can see (eye itself is fine), swelling is going down, but I do look like a member of some illegal fight club. It will look bad for a while, but hey, it’s close to Halloween so I can either be the female version of Rocky or the Bride of Frankenstein.
The thing is, I had plans! I need to take the Halloween pictures of the dogs and was going to solicit others in the nearby homes to volunteer their dogs so I could practice. I was going to begin my walks again as I was feeling good, and the weather was cooler. I had HOA stuff to figure out on the website. I have to get my foster kittens adopted! I had to think about and prepare Christmas photo cards to sell. I was going to, well, do a lot of things. The slip stopped all my planning. My priority wasn’t for everything else: was on me.
Does it take an injury to stop you in your tracks to concentrate on you? Does it take that sudden curve to slow down and make just you the priority?
Don’t wait. When you have a lineup of things you “have” to do – stop. Even if it is for a day, half day whatever. Just stop and breathe and make you the priority. A moment of being grateful that you have the conveniences of shelter, internet, electricity and that you are going to be okay.
We’re all going to be okay.