Recovery: Life’s Been Kicking My Ass – Now It’s Time To Kick Back

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world.”
Marianne Williamson

Look around my living room and you’ll see the evidence: crutches, walker, wheelchair. There’s a handicapped parking permit on the way as well. I am down for the count, won’t be able to walk for six weeks, and work is out of the question.

Thank God for State Disability Insurance.

It’s going to be a while before I can resume my regular life, and besides the doctor visits and physical therapy, I’ve got some time on my hands. How to spend it? There’s the TV. Netflix, Vudu, Hulu are all just a remote control away. I could just sit here and get caught up on everything. Even start some new addictions.

But what would that get me? More mid-life angst about not pursuing my dreams, more shame over squandering this gift of time, more worry about the ticking clock of my life. I’ve always been haunted by the thought of being old in that rocking chair, not having made the most of my talents and opportunities, feeling regret over the things I didn’t do. Carrying my music to my grave. So maybe now is the time.

Don’t get me wrong – I’ve done okay for myself. I’m solvent with a good day job, I own my home and have my financial house in order. I provide for my family and we’re okay – not wealthy, not fancy, but reasonably secure.

But there is a gnawing hunger in me for more. Not more things, but more accomplishment. I worry that if I died today I would be quickly forgotten by all but my friends and family. That is not enough to justify the life and abilities I’ve been given.

Now is the time to make something more of myself. To do some creative work, take some chances, and unleash it on the world. Continuing to playing small will not make me happy when I’m old. I need to swing for the fences now while I still have enough life force left in me to step up to the plate.

So here it is. I’m going to build some new habits and challenge myself to produce something. I’ll start with this here blog and see where it takes me. I’m going to fight my fear and perfectionism and put something out there for the world to judge. And if in fact it is good, and it turns out I have something to say that people want to hear, then maybe doors will open and new and exciting things will come into my life. But if it doesn’t, I still win. I’ll be able to sit in that rocking chair and know that at least I went down swinging…

“You Know You’re Crazy, Right?”

Yeah, I know. That’s what I told her. My wife. When she poked her head in my office just now and said, “You know you’re crazy, right?” “Yeah, I know.”

What could I say? It was 4:55 am. I was pulling an all nighter again. I didn’t mean to. It just happened. I got through the whole day and night and hadn’t gotten in here. But I just had to, so then I did.

So I’ll be shot for tomorrow. My day won’t get started til very, very late. There’s lots to do and not enough time, and I’ve just sacrificed half the day.

But I just had to get in here. Because when I don’t, I fail. I can get by with little sleep, but I can’t afford to fail. And now you’re all caught up…

 

Surgery

Yesterday was quite a day. They rolled me into the operating room about 7:30 am – from there my memory just didn’t record anything. Next thing I know I’m in a recovery bed, my wife at my side, and my leg all bandaged up. It’s 10:30 am, two different doctors just operated on two different parts of the same leg, and now I’m about to go home.

But first I have to make the clock on the wall stop jumping around.

If you’ve ever been under anesthesia you may know the feeling. My brains had been scrambled and they were trying to make a comeback. Took about an hour, three cups of water and a bag of animal cookies (no, not the frosted pink and white ones with the sprinkles, but the plain dry ones, and not from the lion cage box either) to clear my head, then off in a wheelchair and back home.

The crutches are a hassle, but the pain is quite bearable. They found more problems than they saw on the MRIs, but they cleaned them all out and my prognosis is good. Physical therapy starts Monday…

Manic Impressive: The Origin Story

You may be wondering who the hell this guy is and what’s a Manic Impressive. And maybe I’m wondering who the hell you are and how did you get here. Tell you what, I’ll fill you in and maybe you’ll hang around and do the same for me. Or maybe not, but I’m gonna do my part anyway.

Manic Impressive is my self diagnosis. Which means, and let’s be totally clear about this, it is totally made up. By me. For me. To explain me to me. And now, maybe, to you.

No, I’m not sick. At least not in that way. But there’s a certain group of symptoms I exhibit that are deeply part of me. They bring me moments of absolute brilliance, then long stretches of other stuff.

I write this to try to connect with others and move myself to positive action in my life. I do it to better understand how to make my way in the world. Perhaps you share some of these symptoms and can get some meaning or reassurance from these pages. Or perhaps  someone you know or care about is like this, and you’re hoping to better understand them, or at least, to know when to keep fishing or cut bait and split.

The awareness of this came while I was driving with my wife one day some 20 years ago. It was a spectacular spring day, the hills were green and there was wall-to-wall sunshine. As I crested a gentle rise in the road, the next five miles were laid out in front of me. It was a majestic view and I was feeling great.

So great that I started to sing. And drum my fingers on the steering wheel. And make up words to my new made-up song. And just as I was completely feeling it, I noticed my wife. She was not feeling it. In fact, the more I was feeling it, the more irritated she seemed to be.

Odd – why would my life partner, the woman who loves me, be irritated by my happiness? Well, she just didn’t understand why I could be feeling so good. It didn’t make sense and it bugged her. So I tried to explain, and these were the words that jumped out of me:    “I guess I’m just Manic Impressive.”

Since that day, I’ve found those words to be the exact explanation for who and what I am. I’ve also found others who are described very well by that phrase. People who are talented, creative, inspiring, but who have trouble putting it all together and getting it out there in the world.

These are my people, and this is our struggle…