I always marveled at my grandparents’ approach to life when I was a boy. Compared to my parents, who were in their 40s at that time, wrapped up in the midst of running a household, raising kids and making a living, they seemed so, what would be the word, chill?
Nothing seemed to faze them, and they certainly were in no hurry to get anywhere. Had they always been that way, I wondered? My parents just laughed when I posed that question to them on multiple occasions. I took it the answer was no.
Apparently, I thought at the time, something in the aging process took away the tremendous sense of urgency that ruled my parents’ lives, and apparently their parents’ as well.
But now I find myself wondering if it really is the aging process, or if there comes a defining moment that forces all of us into a period of major reassessment.
If you’ve followed this space for the last several weeks, you know I’m in the midst of exactly that. In just a period of days, I went from a fast-paced, mobile, bundle of nerves and happy stress to the same guy without a right foot and ankle.
The decision to amputate was a no-brainer based on what the doctors showed us I was facing. The shock came later, when I found out just how limited my mobility had become.
And I faced an immediate choice: curse my predicament and whine about what I can’t do, or figure out a way to embrace my life as it has presented itself to me.
It was then that I figured out where my grandparents’ “chill” came from.
If you truly listen, something clicks when you’re, for whatever reason, no longer able to live life in the left or center lane and get relegated to the right.
You begin to notice things near the right lane that you never knew existed in those other lanes.
I recently found a great deal on a motorized wheelchair and have taken to “cruising Main” at dusk every evening. For years, I’ve lived a major portion of my life on Belton’s Main Street, but in just a few evenings, I’ve noticed things on these passes that have never pierced my consciousness until now.
It feels great. There’s a chemical that releases in your brain when you let that happen that has the opposite effect as adrenaline, but seems to have the same strength.
In a few months, I do hope to be back upright again, thanks to some type of prosthetic. But I’ll never operate at the same speed or sense of urgency I have in the past. Partly because of the physical limitations I now have, and partly because of the mental and emotional place I now find myself...consciously.
The inconveniences and frustrations I’m experiencing are counterbalanced by a new sense of peace.