Do you have some days that are not quite as good as others?
Yesterday should have been a good day, most of my days are.
Other survivors of adversity tell me that surviving life-threatening situations give all your days thereafter an exquisite flavour. It doesn’t matter what that life threatening experience was, whether it was the terrifying, violent type of bad people trying to kill you, steal everything you possess, shooting at you, locking you up. Or the quiet solitude of a bed in an intensive care unit after a major medical scare, with only the regular beep of the heart monitor for company, hoping it will keep up its regular beat. Getting nervous if a lead to an electrode on the chest gets dislodged and the beep becomes intermittent, anxiety if the beep stops, the line on the screen goes flat.
Then realising that it has to be a technical glitch of some sort, if it was an accurate reflection of cardiac performance, we would be incapable of noticing it.
I have experienced all those and many more scary ones. Having almost reached 63, I have outlived many friends and acquaintances, I have seen too many good people’s lives cut short in their 40s and 50s. Now, every day that I wake up breathing, all parts working even sluggishly at first, is a bonus.
I am lucky, I appreciate that. I am also grateful that I am still fit and agile enough to do all the things I want to do, if at times a little slower than before.
But some days are not quite as good as most.
Yesterday did bring me gifts, I had an enjoyable hour attending to my neighbours horses with my new, wise friend Nancy. You will have appreciated from her two recent guest posts here that she is wise in the ways of both horses and humans. Later in the day Sue and I drove to London so that I could get some dental work done. Yesterday evening, I delivered a speech at our Toastmasters club. That went well.
When we arrived home from London, we noticed that our elderly three-legged cat, Tripod was in severe distress, she was 19 years old, one of the 2 survivors of the 6 we brought with us from Zimbabwe in 2004. We have had to take her to the vet twice recently for an internal problem, each visit caused her more stress, she had lost a lot of weight and was having difficulty moving around on 3 legs.
Reluctantly, Sue took her off to the vet to have her put down while I went to present my speech, a commitment I could not postpone. Later last night, in the rain, we buried Tripod next to Boyjie, another of our Zimbabwe cats who we had to put to sleep last year. Distressing for both of us.
Sad day, not only have we lost a beloved pet, we have lost another part of out history, another link with our homeland. Tripod had been with us for as long as Sue and I have been together. Sue rescued her when she was taken to a vet surgery in Marondera, Zimbabwe to be put down because of a badly damaged front leg. She had been trodden on by a cow on a dairy farm. Despite all our efforts, the leg would not heal properly and was more a hindrance than a help. We accepted the vets recommendation that it be removed. Tripod had a long and active life in spite of her handicap, a far better outcome than that which was intended for her. She overcame her adversity admirably.
That is the worst part of having bonds with animals, they do not live as long as we do. It is distressing to see them suffer, heart-breaking to have to make the decision to end their lives. Doubly so when we have to do the deed ourselves as many of us have had to do. But the pain of losing them is far outweighed by the joy and privilege of having them in our lives.
Today started under the cloud of losing Tripod. It took me longer than I expected to snap out of it. It reminded me of my own mortality, not in a morbid way, but a wake up call, a reminder that I am three-quarters the way through a, now common, life of 84 years. It led me to question what I was doing with my life, was it important? Worthwhile? Did I still have the drive and sense of purpose I had when I started down the road of helping people live extraordinary lives? I started thinking about how much work I need to do in the next few days, weeks and months. Suddenly it all seemed overwhelming.
All the writing, creating and thinking for the business. The mental energy needed for giving coaching clients the best possible value, audiences the best speaking performances I can. The administrative tasks that I have to get straightened out before I can delegate them to an outside professional. (“outsource” sounds too much of an oxymoron to me!) Sales tax returns that need to be completed this week, Preparation for a session with a client tomorrow. The non-business tasks of wood cutting and splitting, porch repairs, house painting, barn repairs and numerous other chores that are part of living in the country. The hours I need to spend on our horses.
This morning, while doing the chores at our neighbours, I mentioned my concerns to Nancy, she asked me if I was brave enough to write about them in a blog post, expose my vulnerability. As a male brought up in a macho world, I do find it hard to express feelings, admit to any weakness, but I can never resist a challenge so here it is.
I realised that all that was a reaction to the loss of Tripod and the feelings and associated memories that went with it.
I also gave myself permission to have a less than excellent day. To accept that sometimes we do need to just go with the flow of our feelings, allow ourselves to be distracted from our sadness by doing something that although not the most productive task on our action plan, allows us to feel we have done something worthwhile for the day. That we have achieved a goal, even if it is a small one.
My diversion was to write a 950 word post on my other blog, it allowed me to express some very contrarian thoughts on a subject dear to my heart, it has nothing to do with leading an extraordinary life, it attacks a cherished socialist icon and if you are politically liberal it may upset you, so don’t go there. But writing that post let me achieve one goal, got my mind back in the right channel and set me up to write this one.
It’s all right to have an occasional less than good day, life happens, plans go awry, sometimes the best tactic is to accept it, not fight it, celebrate small victories, not spend the day regretting what does not get done.
How do you handle less than good days? Leave a comment.
It’s a beautiful sunny evening, over two thousand words in blog posts written, lots of other things done, not a bad day after all, now I am going to get on my horse for a ride.
Wishing you success and an extraordinary life.
p.s. there will be some more good guest posts coming soon from new and current authors.