Over dinner yesterday with friends, I said that I sometimes feel like I’ve been watching my life through a movie. I don’t mean that to sound odd, though it does.
Don’t get me wrong. I have certainly experienced every step of the way – the fear, the anger, the pain, the uncertainty. But today, I find myself at the conclusion of the 97th day since my accident. It just seems so unreal to me.
I’ve tried to really think about this–why it feels so surreal to me–and I think it’s largely because I’ve just been doing what I could to get better. That’s not to say that I haven’t had a chance to think about what’s happened. But, it also means that I’ve not really thought of myself as courageous or inspiring, which a few very kind and generous people have told me. To me, I’ve been doing what any other person in my situation would do – trying my hardest to get better.
We all have choices in our lives. And I think we all know that despite our best efforts, we can’t control what life has in store for us. Yet, we can control our reactions. The choices we make and how we approach certain situations. I made the choice that despite not knowing 97 days ago whether I would ever speak again, to try and get better. I didn’t know whether I could work again, talk again, write sensibly again. But I wanted to try – I HAD to try.
But, am I really courageous for trying? It’s not like I should get a medal or something for wanting my life to get back to “normal.” What if I had tried my best but not been able to speak again? Would I still be considered as courageous? Inspiring? What happens when you put in the same amount of effort but don’t succeed? And who really defines what success is?
I’m still not sure if I’ll be able to get back to 100 percent in terms of my speech. But I’m still going to try my best. If I don’t get there, will I remember the successes I’ve had along the way in trying or the fact that I didn’t get back to whatever bar I set for myself? Just something for everyone to think about, no matter what the goal is.
To that end, I sit here tonight, having just completed my first day back at work. I’ve gone back full time and am getting back into the swing of things.
So the things I’ve been missing, that I desperately wanted back….well, they’re not perfect. But, I can now (usually) order confidently at my favorite restaurant. I can sing along (for the most part) with my favorite song. And I’ve gone back to work. No, I can’t just forget what happened. Every day, I am reminded in some way.
But, if you had told me 97 days ago that I’d be sitting here tonight, I’m not sure I would’ve believed you. That is, if I even would have really understood through my aphasia haze.
Am I someone special? Not particularly, and I don’t mean that as cut down to myself. I’m just a person who wanted her life back. I have been lucky. My life could be very different, even more so that it already is. So many people feel the same way – sometimes it works, and some times it doesn’t, but it’s not always from a lack of trying or desire.
When you think about it that way, it’s hard not to be grateful for what does work out. For me, I continue to be grateful that I have the chance to keep working – not only in my job but in trying to get better.
In my speech, yes. But also as a better person.