I frequently yell at inanimate objects. I'm convinced my bed frame carries a personal vendetta against me and protrudes itself every time I pass by it. My door frames jut out and deliberately hit my knuckles. I raise my voice to both of them and ask, "Why, why do you do this? I am not robbing a bank, I am not murdering anyone, why do you always do this?" As if robbing banks and murder are equally punishable by angry door and bed frames. And I always seem to encounter their wrath when I am in a hurry or carrying entirely too much on my lap. And whacking into still and mounted furniture or walls causes the stuff to fly off of my lap or my body to lurch forward. I act really disgusted for about two minutes, pick up the stuff, and inevitably realize I need to slow down.
I embrace slowing down on a large scale quite well. I know now to take life one day at a time and that baby steps really do pay off in the end. But, the day to day tasks, the errands, the cleaning, and the cooking, well, I don't pace myself very well through these activities. Everything takes longer now. It just does. With each push of the vacuum, I also have to push one of my wheels and then the snake like cord wraps itself all around my chair and entangles itself in my wheels until I reach down, fight it off and throw it out ahead of me. Carrying things from one room to another is simply a pain. I make multiple trips for the silliest of items. If I hurry too much in the kitchen, a bowl shatters or food splashes everywhere. I can honestly spend most of a day picking up after myself and carrying junk. An errand becomes a nightmare when another car parks way too far into my space, leaving a tiny bit of room for me to shimmy my wheelchair through so I can almost fall getting in my driver's seat. Then I have to push my wheelchair back a few feet, back the car up, and pull it over and forward, open the door again, pull up the wheelchair, and then finally pull the car all the way forward, just so I can put the chair back in the car. Gone are the days when an errand is just an errand. Sometimes I allow these petty little instances to rule my mood. The stress takes over and I don't stop it. I wake up with migraines and a level of irritation that is simply not healthy. And although they are few and far between, they still happen and still consume me.
Recently, a day just like this occurred. I silently raged about how long it takes me to do everything and how I will never move forward in life if I can't do simple tasks efficiently. I told off the kitchen table, the garbage can, and even the laundry detergent. But, then nighttime came, I took the dog out, and like I do every single night, I looked up at the sky. I love to take her out at night. It is so peaceful and calm. There are only a few cars out and about, windows are dark, except the few lit by the soft colors of the television. Other dog walkers are out and we pass each other and nod, knowing how lucky we are to be in this club of night walkers. And then I always pause to look at the sky. I see brightly shining stars quite often, a blazing moon, or just a sliver of moon, small, but still glowing. Sometimes it is so black I can't see anything but its vastness. Whatever its state, the sky always amazes me. The second I tilt my head back and look up, all of my worries disappear. I realize how small I am, how I am just a tiny speck in this magnificent world. I see how little my speed matters. And this particular night, the stars were bright and sparkly, almost putting on a show just for me. I continued to tilt my head back in wonder and Belle continued to sniff. Neither of us in a hurry, both of us content. I wasn't worried about my speed or accomplishing a mundane task in record time, I was simply in awe.
I need to remember how fortunate I am to be forced to enjoy stillness and time. Banging into things is a wake up call reminding me to slow down and notice my surroundings. These petty frustrations are just that, petty. I fought to be alive and experience moments like running errands and cooking my own food. The same awe and wonder I have for the sky is the same awe and wonder I should have for my own life. Every moment is a gift and slowing down is a lesson in gratitude and awareness. So, when I think my bed is mocking me, really it is just jumping out to remind me, Hey you, quit moving so fast, you are starting to take your life for granted. Remember the days you couldn't get out of me? Remember those days and be happy you are just bumping into me.