By John R. Greenwood
I began using the words "last gasp" several months ago when I was struggling and needed to get back on track. When you run a set of tracks that's fractions wide it's easy to run off them at any little dip or sag in the road. It's funny how we roller coaster through life never really getting to that oasis where everything is within reach. How boring life would be--I guess is the right answer. We would have zero appreciation for what we had. It would only take a few days before we were traveling to the edge of the oasis with our binoculars looking off to the horizon in search of a larger more inviting oasis.
This time the excruciating pain was the motivator and the inhibitor all at the same time. My hobbling had become unattractive and distracting. For every ugly limp across a parking lot my zest for life got soggier and soggier. Some days I wake up swinging for the fences and some days I hide my face from my wife who's sympathy wanes with each passing pity party I invite her to attend. Some mornings I am full of fight but those have diminished greatly. Working in a world where the silver topped men are rare I sometimes peer around door casings to see if my desk is still there. I reflect back through the past decade and life has been fulfilling on many levels. I am happy but it now appears I am at another crossroads where there are tough decisions to make. Will I fight through this latest obstacle or will I relinquish, grabbing a cane and dropping backward into a recliner? Being a victim comes easily to my personality so I must grasp those boot straps tightly. A day or three is easy, a week is challenging, a month almost impossible but when I look at the timeline it's shrinking, and the clock ticks louder--the pendulum swings faster.
Motivation is key right now. With the summer of 2014 now another picture album and with its Fall, falling as I write, I realize the urgency of my plight. I tap away at these keys hoping to find the right mix to move me, encourage me, push me. How much simpler life was when we didn't understand it, when we ignored signs and warning shots.
Today's date is over thirty days from the day I began the status report before you. As I prepare for yet one more appointment to try and diagnose the cause of my pain I have to force my fingertips to engage in anything other than torturing a tv remote. Even my desire to read has left the building. As always I forge ahead confident there are answers headed my way. In the mean time I gaze off like a bored teen looking for something in the refrigerator. I'm hungry and lazy at the same time. It's during these desert wanderings that I question whether I'm a writer or someone who simply likes to write. Why submit myself to all this self doubt?
I have come to the conclusion that my problem has been with my identity. I now realize that I am a husband, father, grandfather, homeowner, employee, citizen first. Being a writer/blogger/artist is down the list a ways. Wanting to place, "me", the writer nearer the top is selfish and presumptuous. Yes, I believe you must be true to yourself but I also take my wedding vows, fatherhood, grandfatherhood, and paying the mortgage seriously and I now feel that only after all those responsibilities have been prioritized properly can I find true happiness and fulfillment in any other capacity. Let's just say it's a Wallenda-like tight-wire act.
So the journey continues--for us all. That's the way it happens. We constantly encounter these intersections of decision and discovery. There are times when I find it best to pull over and park until the fog clears but sometimes what we're in search of lies just beyond the bend of the gravel road and if we'd muscled through just one more mile we'd have reached our destination.
Live with your choices.
Revel in the knowledge that you're here to make them.
Time to pull up those boot straps...