the elimination of the nonessentials

Today I walked for the first time since February 6th. For those who are doing the math, it has been just a few days shy of eleven weeks since I’ve put weight on my left ankle. It is also noteworthy that I’m using the term walk very loosely—while using crutches, I can lightly touch my tippy toe to step. I am ecstatic and thrilled to begin physical therapy that will allow me to work my way to walking and then separating from my companion, Boot. By June, I should be foot loose and fancy free, so to speak. I will be able to begin running and hiking. Then there will be another surgery.

I think what I am most relieved to discover is that I have not become a lazy person. I was worried that sweatpants and sitting were going to swipe my motivation forever. I have struggled with immobility and a lack of focus. 

It’s been difficult to not complete tasks with my usual efficiency. I’m tired of needing copious amounts of sleep and rest. My systems for work flow failed. I dropped balls and let people down. I tell myself nothing is impossible, but some things are difficult and other things are unwise for me to attempt. The swelling has been insane, forcing me to elevate and ice; ice and elevate. And rest.

I’ve been telling people I’m learning to slow my roll, which is true, but it has not been an easy lesson to accept. I do not like to sit.

It turns out that my creation process is tied to movement. That means much of my professional work is tied to movement. My writing life is tied to movement. Creating scrapbook pages is tied to movement. Making meal plans is tied to movement. So although it would seem logical that I would have lots of time to create, I’ve done very little creation in the last eleven weeks.

It seems my whole existence is tied to movement.
Yet, my healing process has been tied to rest and stillness. 

I’ve been frustrated by the need to rest; I’ve been grateful for the ability to rest. And I miss moving. 

Today I walked laps around the house—kitchen, family room, entryway, living room, dining room, kitchen. I ventured outside and went back and forth, back and forth, back and forth on the front side walk.

And I thought about the Lin Yutang quote and the elimination of the nonessentials. When you double the amount of sleep you need and have limited focus, the things that are most important take precedence while the nonessentials tend to become, well, nonessential.

I made pies for Easter. There was flour all over the kitchen and flour all over me and Luna and my cart and Boot. It was glorious. And exhausting. I had to rest before cleaning the kitchen. I couldn’t put the pies in the oven without help. And Andy came to the rescue when I ran out of energy to toast the coconut and make the pudding from scratch for the filling. (He let me add the flour since it was obviously my speciality.) It took hours to finish making three pies. 

I wondered how Easter pies became essential.

It was then I realized my dream of becoming a woman of wisdom and whimsy is more reality than fantasy. Easter pies became an essential because they bring love and joy and whimsy to Easter dinner. And they were possible because even though it’s been forced, I have embraced the wisdom of eliminating the nonessentials. 

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  1. Your words always make me think more.

    Thank you for sharing your stories.

    Thankful to hear how you are able to walk on it again.

    God is good.

  2. Yippee for your eventual separation from Mr. Boot. And I have always found pies essential. They fill our tummies and bring joy! Happy slowly step–stepping this spring.

  3. Ah, the boot. I know how happy you must be to put it away, but as someone who has been there/done that, I recommend you put Boot in a closet where you can get to it again.

  4. What a wonderful post, Ruth! I chuckled a Boot and love that in some way Boot has become a companion or friend. I smiled at the flour part being your specialty , so awesome! And I love the reality of the woman of wisdom and whimsey. Thanks for sharing yourself with us. Enjoy your movement and your moments.