Thursday, January 7, 2016
It's a small, small world
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.