Even Sloths Make Progress


I’ve been out living what I preach. It’s bloody exhausting.

Yesterday was a day I’d like to repeat more often. The weather was perfection; warm sun but cool breeze and not a rain cloud in site. I felt good, better than good. Probably over did it. Walked quite a bit, even getting off the metro four stops from my house to make SURE I had a long, extended stretch. Put money on my chip card and I think I finally learned how to ask at the counter without screwing up the Dutch. At least, I didn’t get that smile that told me my grammar was off. Took a stroll to pick up more smoke for the house and wandered thru the shopping area downtown. Looked, and thought. Did my usual lotto card purchase and heard my favorite sound (so far): a bell. Won another free ticket. No money prizes yet, but I think this makes 6 free draws so far this year. Not too shabby. Did the dishes, made my bed, tidied up a bit, took a shower. Through it all I kept my cool and a measured pace, hurrying nowhere. Celebrated my full day with an indulgent night of telly and an AH cola.

Woke up late this morning. First sensation was pain as my feet hit the floor. Second was shock as I realized I’d slept thru to 8:30, an hour and a half beyond my normal time. Not only that; I felt/feel as if I could go back to sleep for another six hours.

I would not think that my schedule yesterday was such to warrant my condition today. Obviously I’m not up to it. Just another reminder of my RA. Damned disease!

So today I’m held up by my physical condition. It’s GOT to be a down day. I’ll do my back exercises and a short walk around the block, but other than that it’s films and games. Probably sleep, as well. I’d need a lot more caffeine in my system than I’m willing to have right now to stay awake the entire day.

All this push was generated by one thought: I HAVE no life. That came to me on Thursday, when I was out for a walk around the neighborhood. I passed a woman doing some gardening along the sidewalk, and she spoke to me. In Dutch, of course. I didn’t want to appear stupid, or say I didn’t understand her and have her turn away in disappointment as so many people do. So I tried to follow what she said. From what I DID understand and her gestures, I gathered that the city workmen came thru recently to tidy up the common area grass, but failed to weed out the invasive ivy climbing thru the hedges. That’s what this woman was doing: reaching down deep into the hedge, grabbing the stems of the ivy, and cutting them out as close to the ground as she could manage. It was a huge job; the area she was working on was at least 10 houses long, and two more hedges extended beyond that. I made some conciliatory noises, for she seemed to be bitching that the workmen hadn’t done the job and the ivy was taking over the pavement. I didn’t, however, know how to extricate myself properly from the conversation and ended up just waving and meandering away. The steps down that long hedge-way – for that was my direction – took forever. I berated myself mercilessly for not knowing the language better. By the time I felt I was no longer in the woman’s vision – and therefore out of the immediate shame zone – I was picking deep inside me, examining the shallow nature of my existence. The hours spent doing nothing. The excuses for not getting up and doing things, for that is how I saw it: as excuses. Whiny alibis muttered by a lesser me, unwilling to move beyond her sloth. The words came to me; I spoke them aloud. I have no life.

With that came a realization: that only I could change this. It was up to me to work at the language, it was up to me to get out and walk and get healthy, it was up to me to try to make some connection with people.

Thus, Friday. Pushing a little too hard, all the while taking it easy because damn it! I really was trying.

In all my introspection, I failed to take my physical condition into account. I SO want to believe I can do this. That I can have days like yesterday and not feel so fucking awful the next day. And on occasion, I can. Just not this time.

Damn it, this is not my fault.

It’s not the fault of my body, either. My body is trying desperately hard to give me what I want: a life. It’s doing everything it can to cope with the real culprit. Rheumatoid arthritis.

Somedays – like today – I really want some RA therapy. What I mean by that is I want some chump to dress up in a padded outfit and BE rheumatoid arthritis so I can pick up a stick and whack it relentlessly until I can’t lift my hand to strike it anymore. That would probably happen rather quickly, since the days I’m most angry are the days I’m most affected. Nonetheless, it would bring a welcome emotional release.

*sigh* Instead, I’ve purchased two new games for my computer (on sale), and have an old 1960s British film I recorded for viewing pleasure this afternoon. I figure the film will either be delightful or a welcome excuse to take a nap.

Off to take paracetamol. Again. Probably all day. Return to rest mode. It’s real hard for me to not think of rest mode as sloth mode. But what the hell. Even sloths make progress.

…And don’t they look HAPPY?


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