|Remembering the Mediterranean|
But sometimes there is no place of safety, we just have to endure the storms of life in whatever way we can. It helps to have company when we traverse these difficult times, but make no mistake about it: they will come, whether by illness or accident. My latest "storm" has come through a car accident. On Friday afternoon I collided with another car and bashed in its passenger door, while damaging the bumper quite badly on my own car. I was attempting a left turn into traffic and saw what I thought was my window of opportunity, but I was wrong: another car was coming that I didn't see. I can still remember the sound of the impact. Fortunately nobody was hurt, no air bags deployed, and a policeman wrote an accident report. I was able to drive my car away, but the other driver chose to have her car towed since the passenger doors were damaged. And then I was left with the aftermath of this particular storm.
It's Sunday morning. After having spent the first evening dealing with my insurance company and ascertaining how to proceed, I found it difficult to let it go. My mind kept going over and over the event, and although I was very tired, I couldn't sleep. Every time I would begin to relax, I'd remember it all over again. I kept remonstrating myself for my mistake, wanting to change the event's trajectory and wishing I had chosen a different path. Finally I slept and when I woke yesterday morning, I decided to go ahead and drive my damaged car to join the Saturday walking group. I'm glad I did, because that began the change in my attitude toward the event as well as giving myself some exercise.
I walked with my friend Linda and told her about it. As I was telling her how I'm beginning to realize how much my reaction times have slowed and about the changes I'll be making in my life, she offered me some good advice: wait three days first. She said it takes that long to absorb it all, and she's right, of course. I already feel very differently about the event, and although tomorrow I'll need to begin to deal with the process of getting the car fixed, it's no longer a huge overwhelming mental obsession.
I've been through many incidents in my life that make this one pale in comparison, but it doesn't matter. They are behind me, and this one is right here right now. My ability to roll with the punches, along with my reaction times, show the signs of my advancing age. I'm not the same person I was a decade ago, or even a few years ago. I can feel how differently I respond to change of any sort.
As long as things go on as usual, I am content and happy, but anything that disturbs my equilibrium these days is hugely disrupting. After having successfully traveled halfway across the world, since there was nothing unexpected involved, I managed to deal with the stress. And I'm dealing with this relatively minor incident as well. But it makes me wonder about the next big thing: how will I react? What can I do to get ready for it?
One of my blogging friends, Anni, is recovering from a heart attack. She wrote about it here, and I read it with both relief that she will be okay, and with interest in the description she gave about the symptoms she experienced. I had heard that women have very different responses to a heart attack, and she describes it well. She has every expectation that she will make a full recovery. I wondered how I would have responded if I had experienced the same symptoms. It's worth thinking about.
Part of my morning habit is to turn on the news to listen to the weather report and see what might have happened in the world while I slept. The local news always has weather and traffic every few minutes, and I give thanks that I don't have to deal with the traffic in and around Seattle during rush hour. Or any time at all, for that matter. There is never a day that several of the arteries around Seattle are not blocked by a traffic accident, whether it be a major one where people are injured or killed, or a minor one like I had on Friday. We have grown accustomed to driving, but people are killed every day in this country, maybe even every minute of every day, in these machines. I was reminded on Friday how quickly it can all happen.
I also ponder how similar the arteries in our hearts are to traffic arteries. Both require everything to flow easily and not get stuck, or else a blockage is formed. As human beings who eat several times a day, and who get behind the wheel of a car without thinking about it, we do actually have the chance to make a difference in our lives by making better choices. Whether it is to choose heart-healthy foods or make a right turn rather than a left turn for safety's sake, we can make a difference.
As I drove around yesterday, I realized that what is usually automatic became much less so. I was driving rather slowly and cautiously because of my accident, and I realized it would be really nice if I were able to bring that kind of consciousness into my everyday driving without having to be reminded so painfully of the power under my hands to change things forever.
And because of having lost an hour overnight (with the time change), I realize that I've finished this post a little later than usual. It's almost 8:00am rather than almost 7:00am. Sort of. My stomach is rumbling, asking to be fed at the usual time, and I'll consume some heart-healthy food, since it's pretty much all I have to choose from anyway. I hope that you will be well until we meet again next week.