You get hit by a truck. Not in the figurative "I feel like I got hit by a truck" sense. In the literal, "truckers were on strike for two weeks in the Balkans and they still made an exception so they could ram into a car in which I was riding." Your body creaks as you move. Broken ribs here, dislocated shoulder there. And what is on daytime TV, ready to welcome you to Day 1 of six weeks of prescribed bed-rest? A cooking feature on barbecue ribs and lamb chops.
The world has a sense of humor.
Besides learning how to cook other mammals' dislodged ribs, daytime TV enlightened me in the following ways today:
- The synthetic traces of women's hair dyes will always help investigators pin the murder to them.
- And, by the way, it is no longer the butler or the eavesdropping maid who killed the boss in crime series. It is now the wife or the estranged daughter. (Learning credit: CSI, Law and Order, and NCIS)
- There are at least twelve different ways to fold a dinner napkin for a wedding.
- Penelope Cruz is pregnant.
- Capricorns are having a great, stable, healthy month. (Learning credit: Καφες με την Ελενη morning talk show. Clearly misinformed.)
Worry does not require mobility. As Ray LaMontagne put it in one of my favorite songs, "worry just does not seem to leave my mind alone." I cannot help but worry about the effect of my injuries on my job, my field work, my ability to be as animated and energetic as I like to be when I am delivering workshops and interacting with communities. I am worried about feeling like a blob. I am worried about being unable to engage with the world in any way that does not involve a remote control or keyboard.
Then I remember: I have been walking on this earth for less than a full quarter century. There is a lot I do not know and a lot I have yet to learn. There are bucket lists of places I want to visit and projects behind which I would like to throw my full weight. I want to see Iguazu Falls and the volcanoes of Iceland. Contribute to a conflict management initiative in East Asia. Learn more about public health interventions. There are days when I feel this need to ingest the entire world by the time I am 26. Hanging in mid-air held by a seat-belt reminds me that these plans and wants are not only ambitious, but also unnecessary.
There will be time for everything. My transition to the Middle East will be bumpier and more uncertain than I had hoped. There are many questions to which I do not have the answer. It may be a while before I can return to feeling productive and doing what I love. But that does not mean that I cannot still love it. I can continue to dream and learn and try hard and look forward, while taking a cue from Kavafis and "not hurrying the voyage at all." So, for now, I am embracing my bed and consuming my energy in my four de facto pastimes: Learning how to fold dinner napkins, reading every article, manuscript and business school application my friends send me, becoming an expert criminal investigator by way of CSI: Miami and devising ways to laugh and hug despite the pain.