My Cousin recently had a stroke. As she recovered and is working through rehab, she is diligent about keeping up with her therapy and on staying involved with as many of her old activities as she can. My mother tells me my cousin says, “Baby steps.”
What a point of view.
It’s so easy to want to move fast, to do big things, to accomplish much. But sometimes, more can be accomplished with slow, steady, careful “baby” steps.
I am finding this a lesson which I need to learn again. All my life, I’ve been busy, active, on the move. Almost three years ago, I had a brain injury which caused me to have to quit work—and slow down. I’m having to learn new ways to keep myself busy and useful. This is a humbling experience.
I can remember long days of playing with my children, cooking, laundry, cleaning the house, trying to be an interesting companion to my husband. When I worked outside the home, I put in long hours, often getting up at four-fifteen in the morning so I could be at work by six. I wanted to complete my assigned work and make sure it was done in good quality. I liked when people told me they found me someone they could depend on, and I enjoyed interacting with coworkers and helping students.
Now I find myself unable to physically and mentally perform many of the tasks I used to do. I can no longer work so many hours in a day, and I need to take breaks to rest. Because of this, I have struggled with laziness and depression.
How I thank God that he doesn’t believe an old dog can’t learn new tricks. I am thankful that he stays beside me, whispering in my ear, teaching me that there are still new and beautiful turns my life can take.
I have to laugh at myself. As a person with a visual impairment, I’ve always been resentful when I felt other people didn’t think me capable or competent. Since my accident, it seems I’ve focused on all the new disabilities I have, all the things I can no longer do. Instead, I need to realize that it’s okay for me to have new goals.
My husband still needs my companionship, and we are enjoying spending more time together. My children are grown now and don’t need me to play with them anymore. Yet, since I’m no longer working, I’m able to spend much more time with them. I’m enjoying getting to know them as adults and praying for the wisdom to meet the needs they still have for me.
Slowly, I am accepting the activities and tasks which I am still able to perform. I can encourage friends and family with phone calls, emails, gifts, and prayers. I am encouraging myself to keep up with the simple, necessary tasks that I can still do around the house.
I’m finding it healthy to make a new routine for myself. I’m trying to schedule housework, writing, and/or work on my Braille proofreading class into each day. Maybe I’ll cook a meal each week. Even if it’s in small amounts of time, small amounts of work that I accomplish, I want to teach myself that’s acceptable and useful. Baby steps.