My husband noticed it first, because of the way his seat was facing. As we sat in the Subway downtown, eating our sandwiches for dinner before we went to a film screening, he saw something incongruous. A cane, leaning against the line of sturdy, red bikeshare bikes. We both got to wondering, how had it been left there? Did a person who needs a cane to walk, check out his borrowed bike and forget to pick up his cane as he pedaled off?
I compared the image to myself at that moment. I have not been feeling well- my month of terrible tree allergies means I am in week three of interrupted sleep, wheezy breath, miserable red eyes, drippy nose, red chapped lips, skin thin and tender. But instead of calling it a day after work and going home to relax, I am hopping the subway to take in a cultural event downtown. And I have been going out after work many of these evenings, tossing my wads of soggy tissue into every trash can I pass by.
Because at some point years ago I figured out that I am not happier coddling myself and focusing on how I feel and when is it going to get better. So I do as much as I can and distract and enjoy myself.
When I was a young mother I had a problem resenting many little things. As a result, dirty dishes lingered, and other piddling things didn’t get taken care of. I guess I was waiting for someone else to do it. I struggled with my feelings of being put-upon, of my husband and I balancing all our myriad responsibilities, and of living with the tension of letting things become issues that shouldn’t. During this time I came upon a photograph of a para-olympian. It was a young, blond, Amazon of a woman with smiling face, swinging ponytail, mammoth thighs, and two titanium prostheses, who excelled in running. Her artificial legs looked like a gazelle’s, slender and curving backwards counter to the curve of a human leg. In the photo she stands there being interviewed by the track, glowing with power and pleasure. I tore out that photo and wrote the old Nike motto in black marker on the bottom, “Just Do It.”
I taped that photo on the inside of my clothes closet door so I would see it every day, beginning and end. It helped me. It’s a good way to go.