For the last several months, I’ve fallen out of the routines I had cultivated over several years. I have to admit that I lost momentum in nearly every area of my life. Hell, I lost interest in many areas of life. Changes at work outside my control pushed me into a complacency that nearly got me laid off with 110 other people. I became stagnant in language learning. I waffled in my journaling practice between using pen and paper or digital and didn’t make a commitment to one over the others. Even in the digital world, I went back and forth between apps. Though I was exercising more than I had in a long time and getting fitter, I had stopped tracking what I ate to complement my fitness regimen. Mixed in with all this was the fact that my wife and I bought a new house and listed our old one to sell which took up a tremendous amount of time. There were a lot of things competing for my attention (and still are), and a lot of stress and hard work mixed in with it all. On top of everything I was also drinking more than normal.
The final straw was about a week ago when I went on a 2 a.m. walkabout in my sleep and fell down the stairs to my basement. It wasn’t bad, but it was bad enough. I don’t think I was concussed, but I probably really was. Alcohol was definitely an influence, but I think the stress was the primary ingredient. The fall happened the night after the 110 layoffs, which, incidentally, upset everyone at the office to a very high degree – not just me…
I’ve never experienced a serious injury before, never been in a serious car wreck, or broken a limb, though I have gone through extraordinary dental surgeries which forged in me a high tolerance for pain. But this was different. I had slept for several hours before I started my sleep-walk, and looking back, I think I was about half-way down the stairs to the basement when I lost my footing. My feet slid out from under me and I must have bounced down several steps on my heels before falling because the soles of my feet were sore for days. Once I lost my footing though, I rolled down the remaining steps and landed on the linoleum tile covered concrete floor on my left elbow, left wrist, and left eyebrow.
Imagine the sound of a thick, juicy KC strip steak dropped from eight feet landing flat on a tile floor. That’s the sound that woke me up (my flesh hitting the floor). It also almost knocked me back out. I rolled onto my back and looked up the stairs and wondered what the hell had just happened and why I was down there. Then I realized my eyebrow was bleeding. Then my wife came downstairs and nursed me toward full consciousness.
No broken bones, just a little blood from the eyebrow. No concussion (I think), but painful. My wife put me in bed and gave me an ice pack for my eye and I tried to rest.
The next three days, I either stayed in bed or moved to the couch to heal. I read some. I watched Netflix and Amazon Prime a lot. But I mostly just relaxed with my ice pack to let my body heal. I was sore all over, and my left elbow swelled from where I landed on it. I didn’t have full movement of it, but I knew I merely sprained it.
Each day I improve little by little. The progress and evolution of the black eye is one for the history books. I’ve never seen a black eye with the richness of purple, red, blue, and yellow that mine has displayed in the week after the fall… It’s beautiful and ugly and grotesque and disturbing at the same time.
What I realized most was that I had allowed myself to focus on too many things outside my control. I had become distracted by events that were urgent and had driven myself to address them as though they were important (see Eisenhower’s Urgent/Important decision matrix – https://www.eisenhower.me/eisenhower-matrix/). As I lay in bed that weekend, letting my body recover, I knew I had to refocus. I had to get back to doing the simple things.
- Exercise at least 3 or 4 times a week
- Eat good food (not processed or fast food)
- Get enough sleep (”Take care of the asset.” essentialism)
- Stop drinking so much!
- Read every day
- Practice Spanish every day
- Write a little every day (journal, and Personal Evolution articles)
I’m still working on all of this, another week and a half after I started writing this post… I’m slowly getting elements of my previous routine back in place, and I feel better about things. The black eye is almost well, but I’m not eating like I should, and I’m only now exercising again. The fall really put me in a bind physically, at least with the left arm. I feel like I may have bruised the bone in my elbow because it’s still sore, but my wrist is finally starting to gain full flexibility.
I’ll just keep pushing forward and try to get the other elements of life back on track. Thanks for reading!