Thursday, January 8, 2015

Downstream Toward the Beach...

I wrote those words above a few months ago emanating from an inner belief that I'd get back to the swim.  The swim...for me it means getting back in the water at the Oceanside Beach, which is an intimate friend of mine. 

The physical therapist was giving me a hard time last week about my not putting in much effort with the back exercises--and she ticked me off.  She told me things like...I was dependent on my back brace...I had a mindset that I'll have lifelong pain...I need to get my act together and fight back (no pun intended).

So why am I pissed off?  I'm early in my third major life comeback and I don't know whether I CAN come back?  You see I went through this first comeback from spinal surgery for my neck once before--five years ago--and slowly, very slowly, I was able to return from it.  I did it all in the water in Oceanside; I gave up on neck physical therapy two different times because of the pain. 

I had this cancer deal for a second comeback about twelve years ago...and I haven't come back from that...and never will.  Lifelong damage.  I'm angry about that pretty much every day.  There's nothing that I can do about that but I'm supposed to be happy.  Beat cancer, live with cancer, hope for a cure, overcome cancer, jog for cancer, be happy you're alive...the hell with that!  Cancer just sucks and it strikes randomly from out of nowhere!

I write that "The first time you quit is the last time you try" on my posts.  But this time I am tempted to quit.  There's a relief to quitting, for those of us who have done so--it's an immediate relief, a short-lived end to the suffering--but it comes with such a long-term regret.  Quitting is so, so easy.  If you are running, you simply stop.  Walk....  If you are studying Organic Chemistry, you just stop memorizing structural formulas.  Change your major to Business.  If I need to do my physical therapy exercises, I just don't. 

Just do it...just don't do it...

This post is much more about quitting in life than it is about swimming in cold ocean water. 

We tell ourselves--rather we think to ourselves--that it's perfectly fine to quit;  Quitting my endeavor may actually may be the better choice for me. We rationalize our actions to reduce stress--it's some psychological principle.  Maybe I was meant for something else, maybe I chose the wrong career path early on when I was young and had choices.  Oh, choices.  They are involved in this story too.  Personally, I do much better when I have no choices; there is just one thing to do and I have to do it or someone tells me what to do.

I got far afield from my thoughts about this third comeback that I am experiencing.  Maybe I can't do it?   Maybe the old guy has run out of life force?  Maybe I'm afraid to do the hard work?  Maybe I'll take the first stroke again?  I am doubtful but not hopeless...yet.

"The first time you quit is the last time you try."