I’ve faced many challenges recovering from my jaw injury, and perhaps one of the most difficult has been learning to let go and accept my limitations. I’m a stereotypical first-born, Type A person who has a bad habit of continuously identifying new mountains to climb. Being out on disability and dealing with my injury is forcing me to deal with my own limits. I can’t work, I can’t take care of my children by myself, I can barely eat anything and I can’t take advantage of this time off to do projects around the house. And I don’t like it.
Don’t get me wrong. I am not even close to perfect normally. Those who have lived with me know that I am a clothes hoarder and have struggled to overcome [ahem] organizational issues. I still have challenges keeping our home organized, but I’m getting better. Or I thought I was. When one of my sisters stayed with me over the holidays, she mentioned that she had a nightmare that she was drowned by the stuff in the hallway. Ouch. In my defense, we are in a process of transitioning stuff out of the office to create a bedroom for my son.
I’ve always been able to compensate for my imperfect domestic life by throwing myself into my career. But now I don’t even have that going for me. Right before my jaw injury happened, I started a new job. Having a new job is difficult for anyone, but it’s been particularly difficult for me to adjust. Not only am I not at the top of my game, I feel like I’m not even sure which game is being played. I don’t know how to do the most basic things, I’m learning a whole new business, a new culture and the policies and norms within it, and trying to build relationships. And now I’ve had this setback of having been out of work longer than I was even there!
This reminds me of a horrible experience I had meeting with a guidance counselor in high school. I think he may have been encouraging me to apply to “realistic” (read: non-Ivy) schools. True, I did not test particularly well on the SAT. But, I felt like I was smart and that I could do well with whatever I put my mind to. He drew this line depicting the range of intelligence and hashed a line where he thought I fell. “But it’s above average,” he cried in response to my immediate anger. After meeting more intelligent people at Holy Cross, Accenure, and law school, I have no doubt that he was probably right. However, I do not consider myself to be on the B Squad. It’s not about a need or desire to be “better” than others. I just want to excel at the things I love to do, and I believe in my ability to do that.
But right now I need to admit that I can’t do much of anything. And I need to try to be OK with that. And, I really should take advantage of this time to get as much rest as possible.