Last month was a slog. I didn’t really post much here, or anywhere, that was of any consequence. For the most part, I was sequestered to sitting down, to remaining still, as my knee was dealt with in due time. The stir-craze was real, and my thoughts were racing. As you all know, I tend to deal with my feelings and thoughts through movement, and since that was impeded by my aging and breakable body, it was really hard to get a focus on what I was supposed to be doing.
I did, however, get to spend a great deal of time writing. Specifically, I got to bust through a few more chapters on this sixth rewrite of my memoir. My writing group, a fantastic bunch of gals here in Portland, have been super helpful in getting my motivation back to where it should be, and through their cheerleading, I feel like this book has taken on a new and renewed life. It’s cutting deeper than I’ve ever been brave enough to let it, and I’m getting down the words that I’ve struggled to write for almost two decades. It’s been good. I can’t wait to share more about that here, to be honest.
Since the surgery – a mere two weeks ago – I’ve been absolutely astounded by the recovery that has occurred. Honestly, I thought I’d be lamed up for quite some time, but not two days after the cuts and bandages, I was up and walking around without the use of my crutches or any of the mega-strong pain pills that the doctor prescribed me. In the past two weeks, I’ve managed to go on some decent walks, get back to the gym (THANK ALL THAT IS HOLY FOR THAT MIRACLE), and actually go out on a short hike with Ray to a part of Oregon we’ve never visited before. I was still able to take the jeep out for drives while my knee wasn’t up to par, so I was able to get out, technically, but to feel the movement of the ground beneath my feet, the crunch of gravel, or the contours of terra firma beneath the pads of my feet meant the world to me.
I remember back to a strange and lovely poetry/literature class I took in my undergrad, where the professor took us outdoors and had us just walk around in a mindful manner. Feeling and experience each step on the soft grass of the land surrounding the old brick English department meant slowing down, taking one’s time, and tracing the energy threads and movement of the ground beneath our feet and up through our legs. It was a lesson in slowing down and noticing details, and for me, that’s what hiking and walking and any other movement of my body has become. To have that faculty back, to be able to walk again and feel every step, has meant a return to some sort of balance for me. I’m not feeling broken or trapped, lost or misplaced. My anxiety about all things has subsided a bit, and the fresh air has been so damn good for me, especially on the rare spring days up here where the sun shines.
February was also a good month for Ray and I to sit and talk about what we actually want to be doing over the next few years. For his part, he’s decided to make some real steps towards life beyond serving tables. For my part, I’ve realized that my skills and resume need a brush-up. I’ve taken a few steps towards getting back into the classroom as a student, and as of just a few days ago, my FAFSA was approved and I’m looking at taking classes at my local community college, with an eye towards learning Computer Information Systems, possibly a degree in Computer Science. Being adept on the computer, and not just as a user of the technology, has always been a curiosity of mine, and I’d like to see what I can do with that going forward. Having done a little research online for the kind of pay and positions that exist – especially in the rural areas where we might end up living – I’ve learned that I can make it a thing. I can make a decent salary while taking onboard the rural life that Ray and I want for ourselves. What that means, though, is I need to build a bridge from here to there, and that means more education. It means shaking up my brain a bit, and challenging myself.
First up will be a revisit to math. I squeaked by in my college math course, but it’s been two decades since I’ve actively sat and did mathematics as homework or to study for an exam. Beyond that, my first semester would be exploratory. I kind of know what I want to study, but I don’t know if I’ve got the aptitude to really dive into it the way I should. I don’t really know where to begin, so I’m hoping that, with an academic advisor’s guidance along with a network of friends who are already in the field I’m considering, that I can figure it out.
Now that March is here, I’m ready for adventure. I went to the gym last night and was happy to experience a pain-free workout, even with a teeny-tiny bit of running on the treadmill. My weight and size remain an issue for me, but now that I can get back at the program I was on (and seeing some real results), I plan to stick to it and see where it takes me. We’re taking off to Seattle, WA next week for a little mini-vacation, and plans are already in play for major summer travels. Victoria Island, BC is one destination. I still need to make my way back east, back to see my family. I do have a week-long vacation coming up around the end of May, and I still only work three days a week, so there are almost limitless possibilities. Ray is as adventurous as ever, and now that he’s finally looking forward in his own life, the conversations between us while we are out and about have become quite deep and meaningful. It’s as if our relationship has grown up too, and that, to me, is really exciting and energizing. I can’t wait to see where we go over the next year or so.