Ever since I was in a relationship in 1993, I have been on the “march of life”, meaning to constantly looking ahead, what is next, what needs to happen, where, how, when.. etc. I see now it was all about moving forward with speed & velocity, whether it was the amount I was making, the house my kids mom desired, to having the yearly vacations that were desired to prove our status. The reality of “march of life” was a lot, it made for less planning, zero thoughtful reflection and even no true self growth. I can remember how I felt during all of these years and it was exhausting, not a lot of fun and was so much about GO GO GO that the end state was not even worth the march. I can now truly reflect on my first heart surgery & say WTH was I thinking.. I went from countless procedures to then surgery and tried to go back to work within a few days for what reason? To keep the “march of life” going, to keep going forward and not embrace the reality of today. I was so caught in the wheel I couldn’t see why I was running beyond “RUN”. I remember not feeling complete after surgery, the support was MIA @ Home, my kids were awesome, but not equipped at that age to help me through the dark times of post-surgery. I was not complete, I didn’t get a chance to stop, reflect, learn about myself and find out how I changed from a teenager to a 30 year old with new needs, health, thoughts, etc…
I’m choosing to fast forward thru a few chapters to having that same feeling w/ wife #2, the “march of life” was on, I didn’t even give myself a moment after the first relationship to be me, to reflect, get comfortable with who I was, know what makes me tick.. Instead I ran forward with a renewed spirit of GO GO GO. I’ve said before what happened here or at least enough to know it was not the best situation from my family. So I move from that to more GO GO GO, I start to focus on what is next, thinking ahead ahead ahead.. present is for the past (etc).. but I didn’t get the message that I needed to STOP, Listen & reflect. I hit a few walls and literally messed up my body (from skating, moto riding, bicycling, etc..) and I kept coming back harder & ready to GO, but I didn’t stop and say. “WTH”. As you can imagine, this is a build up.. so here goes..
In January ’18, I thought I was being cool going in for a proactive physical and I knew that it was going to be a SH&& Show, I just didn’t know how much it would be. I was working that morning, I took in a few cups of coffee, hit an espresso shot and headed off to the doctors. (coffee – why not before you get a physical – DA&&). After spending a few moments of pleasantry it was time for the blood pressure.. this when the fireworks started.. I was running HOT, really HOT on my BP, so it went right to EKG and then it was a “drive to ER NOW!, tell them you are tacking”. OMFG – what? 3 days later I was released from the hospital and it was like a small smack, but the reality of what was to come was not even present in mind. I kept rocking “march of life”, let’s go baby.. back to work, back to crappy ish food and of course hops.. I kept it going strong without taking a moment until the call came in, early march.. We have a cancelled apt we can do your surgery next Friday.. OH F. wait what? When? Okay.. let’s rock it.. thinking.. “march of life baby”.. let’s get it done and keep getting back to the future.
Well.. it didn’t go that way, not at all. Surgery was brutal for all involved, 10 hours inside of my heart, intensity 10x. I woke up dazed, confused and was still in a “let’s GO”. That’s done now.. but that was not the plan for me.. My heart needed and still needs more healing. Over the course of the first week the daily/nightly challenges were never ending and I didn’t remember how brutal it was. Challenges included: Breathing, eating, bathroom, walking, headaches, muscle atrophy, .. I sound like I’m 90 years old, but holy moly it was brutal. Instead of taking each on and going for the GO GO GO. I decided to figure out exactly why it was happening, what I could do to remedy (both meds & natural) and then worked each towards a solution. For two nights I had my dad’s spare CPAP machine blowing oxygen into my lungs which was a God sends, a few nights my headaches were straight out of a grinder with so much pressure, but the best (sarcasm) is when I started one of many new meds that the next day I called my doctor and said I didn’t sleep well.. she said “you had nightmares didn’t you”.. um yah.. it was straight up from a biblical apocalypse, woke up sweated out and screaming.. yah… that was not fun.. but now that meds is a NO GO for me.. This is just the highlights, the rest was just more learnings for me.
So. I made the mistake of jumping on email and was quickly corrected to stop, which I do appreciate. My stress of not working was so CRAZY HIGH “march of life”.. GO GO GO.. that not until I got corrected I was still worrying about everything at work instead of fully embracing what was happening with me. I finally had to let it go and know that my co-workers, boss & partners have my back. I need to get fully healthy & then return when it’s time. Okay. so now I’m 2 days into seeing recovery working, I’ve been to the gym, I’ve lost 15 pounds (more to go), I’m eating better than my entire adulthood, I’m spending more time thinking through what I’m doing and I have really enjoyed spending present time (phone or in person) with my grown kids.
What does this all mean? I feel for the first time in my adulthood I am taking time for me, to learn, reflect, feel and understand than I ever have. I am appreciative of my mindful training, my exec coach and all the prep to have tools available that have helped me. I am appreciative for all the time at church growing up, yes I have prayed a lot during the last few weeks and I am glad I have that upbringing. So where now? Well I’m in the middle of it right now.. I have 1.5 weeks til I return to work, I havent’ slept a full night yet ( that’s my goal ) and I’d like to really feel every feeling that is happening.. “be present”. While I have not fully shifted from “march of life” to something else I know that the future will not be a conveyor belt of GO GO GO.
Thank you for listening.. I had to get these words down tonight to be present with these thoughts and feel it!.