Wednesday, September 30, 2020
“How is your recovery going?”
That’s the kind of comment we expect after someone has had a major surgery or is healing a skiing injury – we wonder how they are getting along.
Socially acceptable, politically correct …
We wish people speedy recoveries because that’s the kind thing to say.
The only fast-recovery I’ve ever known was a ‘fast-recovery hot water tank,’ meaning the speed at which it got back ‘up to temperature,’ and it cost more than regular-recovery models.
On the other hand …
That’s possibly a rude question to ask someone – meddlesome, presumptuous, and likely to cause offense in some people, especially those who think they are problem-free and have nothing to recover from, or trigger reflexive recoil or protestation of someone who is in denial of having anything to recover from, denial of failure, or denial of their reality.
Which is not to suggest they are bad people or ill-intended, but rather that they just have difficulty facing hard truths.
Try recovering from that!
So, you see, recovery is a multi-meaning word.
Recovery ‘of what’, ‘from what’, is a place to start.
Recovery of a person from something – and their something could be wide-ranging; from recovering their breath after a robust heart-thumping exertion, to recovery from surgery, or from an illness, or from a failure – of any challenge, large or small. Or any loss, large or small.
Recovery could be a simple automatic sequence of events, or it could be the equivalent of picking yourself off the pavement after being flattened by life’s steamroller-scale event …
The recovery of a company or a government, recovery of a country or humanity, is a different though possibly parallel thing. Recovery can be from an addiction to something harmful (like drugs, alcohol, or destructive behavior), or something useful (like work, exercise, retail shopping, hobby-extremism, binge-watching documentaries, and educational things …).
Recovery comes after something, does it not?
Recover starts after something ends. You can’t recover from something until you’ve stopped it. My body and heart rate cannot recover until I stop the activity and allow for rest. I can’t recover from an addiction to something (does writing count?) until I stop it.
I’ve met people who’ve talked about themselves as recovering engineers, recovering alcoholics (I’m one of those), recovering Catholics, recovering news-junkies (what’s wrong with that?), or other things said in jest, or in jest to hide something real.
What about non-recovery?
Can I recognize something is an issue, a distraction, or a problem and choose to not-recover from it?
Of course I can.
Diabetics who continue to eat sweets can also continue their counter-productive behavior and simply shorten their lives. As can the smoker, the gambler, the workaholic.
Hold it now – I wrote ‘workaholic,’ a term we have mixed feelings about.
If you aren’t one, you know one. If you’ve never been one, you’ve worked for one. If you’ve worked for one, you have a love/hate relationship with work on that pace and scale.
I’m struggling with something, obviously, or I wouldn’t be writing this piece for your entertainment – because I’m not suggesting this though process and confession are in any way entertaining …
I’m at an age, stage or career, and shade of white hair which suggests I ought to be a retired person. I tried it for a few days. Not in a row. Sometimes when I’m weary or feeling worn out – before my brain and body recover, I think to myself, “I’ll take a retirement day” the same way some people book-off sick and call it a ‘mental health day.’
If I’ve learned anything useful this past handful of years, it is to manage my focus and manage my day-management. Think of it as ‘managing the golf course’ for the person who isn’t a big hitter but manages a great score – because they know where to hit so they can control where they hit from next, much like a snooker player’s scoring is ultimately predicated – not on his shots, but on his leaves. Where he leaves the ball for himself, or for this opponent, is the strategy which separates winning some games from being consistently coming out on top …
Our life – whether it’s how we manage our time on a Sunday, whether we are needing recovery or staring out the daydream window of our mind figuring out how to not require recovery, is ours to manage.
Sadly, knowledge, wisdom, and experience accumulate – the only way to pile up a lot of it is to earn it over time when it would have been so much better to have had a large dose of it before we started running our lives like occasional three-legged races instead of efficient training for the long race …
We can, however, make the long-race work for us if we better manage our recovery – and organize ourselves, so we need fewer recovery times.
Or, if I take that old worn chair seat, strip away worn padding and fabric – rewrap it in something fresh and firm, that’s recovery too because that chair will be 100% recovered.
I’m ‘recovering’ from bursitis – both shoulders. They both get sore sometimes, but I’ve learned to move differently in many activities; if my shoulders were suddenly brand-new, I’m not sure I’d be able to go back. I’ve compensated; I do nearly everything I did before. More carefully, but I don’t see myself as recovered or not-recovered; I just ‘have bursitis,’ and therefore, I’m careful about activities which aggravate it …
Some things we recover from – some we never can, so we live with them; I’m not sure yet whether we’ll ‘live with COVID-19’, but surely we’ll live despite it – or to spite it!
My point, and I have one, is that humans are more robust than we generally think we are – all of us and whether we are living with a virus, playing injured or coping with a handicapping condition, or maybe we’re vertically and/or follicle-ly challenged, we’ll be fine.
Recovery in our culture implies there was a difficulty in our physical or emotional being for which we are responsible or at least complicit in the thing that must be recovered.
But lately, it’s more about our recovery of something lost in ourselves from malaise, recovery of lost time and lost opportunity – even though we know, once it’s gone, it’s gone. It’s like getting back lost sleep. It can’t be done. And anyone who has a sleep deficit will tell you how frustrating that is – and that it can be recovered-from by sleeping more. Imagine that – one of the most challenging problems can be solved by going to sleep!
Wouldn’t it be great to go into a coffee shop for a cup of recovery? The barista would ask if we wanted a large/tall one, and we could reply that we just wish to have a regular recovery.
Recovering our place is easy once it’s done, and brutally difficult until it is.
Recovering our dignity begins within.
Recovery of something lost doesn’t mean it was stolen, but it surely means we want to get it back.
After six months now in a strange global self-help therapy-funk, what do you want to get back?
I needed to hear this right now, Mark. It’s hard, but indeed, most worthy things are. At the end of the day, there’s really no other way but to move forward and adapt! There’s no pause button on time or on life, fortunately or unfortunately, KV, Calgary, AB