Each handicap is like a hurdle in a steeplechase, and when you ride up to it, if you throw your heart over, the horse will go along, too. ~~Lawrence Bixby

Thursday, January 7, 2016

It's a small, small world

Occasionally I run across one of my old daily calendars with events and appointments jotted down; or an address book from a decade ago. I'm astounded by how many activities I participated in and how many people I was regularly in contact with.

Since becoming disabled, my world has shrunk considerably. No longer do I have the energy to go out several evenings a week to hear music (or perform it), see a movie, visit with friends, go to a party or out for a meal. Most of my communication with friends takes place via email or Facebook - even a phone call seems daunting at times.

Truth be told, I've always been an introvert and a homebody - I love my alone time, and crowds can make me uncomfortable. But the physical limitations and fatigue factor have compounded this. Sometimes even thinking about going out where I know there will be a crowd is exhausting. Some of it has to do with access, especially if there are unknown factors -- will there be stairs? is the bathroom accessible? -- and some of it depends on my level of pain and/or fatigue in the moment.

I would love to be one of those inspiring disabled people who barrel through life no matter what - showing up at parties and dances, fearlessly braving the obstacles, their calendars full of activities. Right now, my calendar for the next two months shows my weekly choir rehearsals, semi-monthly ensemble rehearsals, my weekly workout session, a therapy appointment, and one outing with friends. It is enough.

What makes me saddest about this dearth of activity is the lack of dates Laurie and I have. We used to go out often for meals, to lectures, movies, and concerts, for walks. Nowadays it's takeout and a streaming movie for date nights. Laurie often goes out with friends now instead of with me. I'm glad she feels free to do that - it isn't fair that we both be restricted by my inability to have a larger life.

This post is mostly for my own observation. I'm not feeling sorry for myself -- my life is quite rich with what I am able to do, and in spite of pain and disability, I'm a happy person. I think a certain amount of social shrinkage is normal as we age; but it has taken me a bit by surprise, especially when I see it in black and white on old calendars.

And I really hope I have not planted an ear worm of It's a Small World in your head.


Tiffin said...

As my old dad used to say, "We don't get to choose our lot in life, we only get to choose what to do with it". I think you are making good choices for you, Ter, despite all of it. xo

Terri said...

Thank you, Tui. I am fortunate to have many resources at my disposal and a partner who's willing and able to help me through the rough bits.

Connie M said...

Terri, my old calendars show the same trend and I wonder how I did all that stuff...or wanted to! I think age and waning energy impacts most of us introverts. However it's a bummer to have limitations more imposed than chosen, as you've so eloquently expressed. I admire how much you do, and also how present you are to the beauty and humor and love in the world. And I love how you think about, and express, your feelings about the transitions you're facing. Connie M