“So, I heard that you’ve quit your job.” “Now what?” “Are you okay? What’re you going to do now?” “Are you panicking yet? There aren’t that many jobs around here. What’ll you do?”
All these questions have been asked of me during the last couple of weeks. I gave my notice at work and there were some startled looks from people I am close to. I had not been at this job long, and like anyone, I need to work. Had I lost my marbles, my friends asked.
No, I have not lost my mind. I did have a kind of epiphany over the New Year (my goal setting season, typically). During the last several months I have been leading workshops, and standing in a classroom for consecutive days. This is satisfying work; fun even. People attend workshops in order to learn new skills, test out new ways of thinking, and for the most part they were very keen participants. But almost immediately I started having trouble with my legs. I was diagnosed with peripheral neuropathy years ago, but I did not realize that prolonged standing was going to make it so much worse. Every day that I spent training led to intense pain afterward, and the more training I did, the worse things became.
My issue is being compounded by degenerative discs in my lower back and the beginnings of arthritis in my left hip. This is causing pain too, and so when I am moving from one training session to the next without respite, things feel a whole lot worse than they did when I had a desk job. Right now I am six days past my last training session, and this morning I finally feel as though I am getting better.
It dawned on me recently that things were like this for my own mom when she was my age, and so I called her yesterday to figure out exactly when she started walking with a cane. She quickly replied that is was in 1993, which means that she was about seven years older than I am now. She didn’t use it all the time; just when she was walking outside, and felt like she needed some support. Now, however, she uses it all the time when she is outside of the house. Her doctor tells her that there is no amount of surgery that would help her out, although they did try a few rounds of injections. We had thought that Mom’s back problems were prompted by some injuries she had as a youngster, but it seems like there is most certainly a genetic component to it too, since I am looking at the same thing.
I know there will be positive things that come from this, the most certain of which is leaving standing in a classroom behind, and tackling more frequent writing and coaching work. Where’s my purple pen?