I’m definitely no rock star, but this week gave new meaning to the saying “Live fast, die young.” The saying is generally applied to those people who play, play, play, venturing into uncharted waters, with little regard for others, though most people who are known for this are celebrities, and others are certainly watching. Central to this idea is that every day is meant to be lived as if it is one’s last, and talents and abilities should be flexed as much as possible. For a rock star, this might mean playing lots of music, hob-knobbing with lot of other stars, flexing one’s creative, mental, and physical abilities, going to the finest places, eating the finest food, partaking in expensive hobbies, and doing it all in haste. Life should never feel stale, and the momentum of life should not stop until death.
I’m no rock star, but this week gave me enough contrast to my usual life that I feel like I often “live fast.” My lower back has given me trouble for a while, and one wrong lifting of one of my children has put it over the edge. I had to cancel manning a Stroller Hikes booth at an upcoming festival, leading a hike, and more. Evenings were spent lying in bed. Ouch. I’ve still managed to work full time and tend to meals and kid chaperoning, but the color in my life – exercise, nature, and seeing friends on hikes, was gone this week.
You really come to appreciate something when it’s gone, and while I still have a back that functions some, my husband sat me down this week to discuss what I really needed to do, to get better. He is a pro as being “broken” and healing – while we’ve been together, he has broken dozens of bones, herniated a vertebral disc, damaged tendons, and more. On his list were three things I don’t tend to do: Ask for help. Rest. Take medicine.
There are a few instances in my life that I can now appreciate more fully. All of them come from friends and family that faced similar challenges suddenly, that created tremendous perspective to their usual, easy lives. Years ago, my teacher friend, Dave, woke up with an odd lapse of memory. It hit him all of a sudden, when his usual sharp memory and sense of humor had him humbled. As if some part of his brain had shut down temporarily, he could no longer grasp mathematical reasoning, which was so foundational to his world as an advanced math teacher. Everyone, including him, found it odd, and it persisted for several days, until just as quickly as his understanding had diminished, it returned. My step father had a sudden onset of double vision years ago, which was undiagnosed for the several years he had it (was there a stroke, was it viral?), and his body has since recovered from. A wife of a work friend, amidst doing pilates on a vacation, became partially paralyzed, and has since been undergoing intensive physical therapy and tons of surgeries to regain motor function.
I’m not saying that my back trouble is anything close to as debilitating as these other conditions, but with knowledge that something like this could happen, living fast makes a lot of sense. And if not living fast, living richly, with attention to my biggest priorities – my personal and professional ambitions, my family, my health – really feels important now. I’ve built a community in Stroller Hikes of health, exercise, and nature-minded people with so many fantastic friends I would not have met otherwise, and while there is always a long list of Stroller Hikes business to-dos, what is it worth, if I cannot partake in some of these Stroller Hikes events?
So this week, I put my feet up, ice my back, rest, take medicine and nutrients, drink lots of water, and spend some quality time with my family. And if I need to pick anything more than five pounds up, I’ll ask for help. If you are able, do consider going on a hike for me – live richly by exercising and exploring nature with your family, in this beautiful place we call home.
-Debbie (President and Founder), Holly (2), Max (6), and Andrew
p.s. Photo at top? The closest thing I could find to a rock star, in my life. Max giving a shout-out, over lunch, above.