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Objects in Motion

Inertia. I learned about it in 7th grade science, I believe.  It made perfect sense. Objects in motion stay in motion. And, for years and years, I’ve referred to it on a superficial level when I see it play out in front of me. It’s an intriguing theory and all.  But, lately, I’ve begun to understand it beyond that simple explanation.  It’s more than a ball that keeps rolling and keeps rolling until stopped.  It turns out it is a theory that can play out physically and mentally.

My first wake-up call was while running a 10K a few months ago.  It was the longest distance I’d ever run but I found myself doing it. Once I got going, I just kept going.  I had trained. I was ready and my body did the rest….that and inertia.  It became abundantly clear when at about mile 5, I slowed up for water.  The volunteers handing out the water didn’t quite have a rhythm down and I had to stop to get a cup.  I walked and drank and then, feeling pretty good, started to run…or not. I was moving and clearly thinking, “Ok…time to run that last mile,” but my legs didn’t do it. I had stopped the motion and my body decided it didn’t need to stay in motion at the speed I was willing it to go.  It took several tries. Seriously, I looked like some washed up telekinetic freak scrunching up my face, walking along and thinking “move legs, run.”  Until, slowly, very slowly they began responding and I dragged them along until I was at a jog again.  That last mile, though, was not like the first 5.  It felt terrible.  I pushed through and made it happen, but the laws of physics stood true. I should have never stopped.

You might have noticed that I haven’t posted in awhile. Same theory.  Life got crazy. I have been moving along at a clip. Doing everything that needs to be done. I swear…the last month of school for the kids is busier than even the holidays. It should be fun…end of season parties and school plays and class parties and teachers gifts and celebrations, but it’s all piled into three weeks that tend to also be busy weeks at work.  Add to that the trials of life in general…hormonal sass from my daughter, helping my son achieve nearly unachievable goals as he struggles to overcome dyslexia, and the horror and sadness of my stepfather facing into cancer yet again while my Mom tries desperately to help him overcome it…it’s not a surprise that I was moving so fast that I slowed up on the writing. I slowed up enough that the particular activity didn’t stay in motion enough to propel it forward. And, I thought, I’ll just lay my head down here and rest a bit.  Before I knew it, two months had passed.

Don’t get me wrong…it hasn’t been too much…this life of mine.  As I strongly believe and have based this entire blog on…it’s normal.  These are the things everyone faces in one way or another, and sometimes you have to slow up on one thing to manage another.  So, I slowed up on writing. For just a bit. Until today.  Today…as I sit here with a physical reminder of why it’s important to stay in motion.  That particular reminder would be a searing pain in my back…my old lady back that managed to rear its ugly head….or, in this case, its ugly herniated disc…just because I stopped.

You see, after the crazy month of May and all its school-year-ending activities, we took a family vacation to the beach. I managed a business trip the week before as the kids finished school, my husband packed us and I had less than 24 hours to get the rest of the plans together before hitting the car to drive to visit my Mom and her ailing husband and then, two days later, unload on the beach. We got there and I looked out on the ocean and thought, “I’m not moving from this spot for 6 days.”  Ironically, I really didn’t.  The first day was normal…active, but normal.  I went for a run and then walked the beach with my kids, boogie boarded in the waves with my daughter, swam with my son, built a boat out of cardboard, duct tape and Saran wrap with my family as part of a poolside activity at the resort and walked back to our condo to crash for the night.  Sounds like a lot, but this is my week to let loose and play with my kids. This is what we do at the beach each year, and I love it.  So, the next morning, as my husband and daughter set off for a bike ride, my son and I walked on the beach and then played Bocce.  Next, he wanted to build a sand castle.  That’s when it happened.  I stopped the motion.  I sat down on the sand while he brought me buckets of wet sand and water and I just leaned over and molded his creation.  He did all the work.  I just enjoyed the sun and sat mostly still.  And, when we were done, I went to get up and I was stuck.  Literally stuck.  Like an old lady in a medical alert commercial, I could not get up.  My body wouldn’t move and when it swayed even a centimeter, the pain was overwhelming. The sun was beating down, my son had no idea why I wasn’t moving on to the next thing and my husband and daughter were off on a two-hour biking trek, leaving me to figure this out on my own.

I’ll be honest, I’m not sure how I actually got up. I know it hurt…I remember the wave of nausea that accompanied the pain once I was on my feet, but I don’t remember actually standing. And, my sweet son just put his tiny arm around me as we made our way up to our chairs.  We rested there and then we made it to the pool where I could get some shade and let him play while I caught my breath and figured out how to get a call into my doctor to get pain killers sent directly to me at that pool.  Ok…it took a bit more work than that, but we found our way.   Funny thing…it didn’t ruin our vacation. I mean…if you have to be laid up, a beautiful place with an ocean view is the place to do it.  Yet, one friend said it all when, upon hearing the story, she said to me, “Only you could injure yourself while relaxing.”

I disagree…it wasn’t me. It was inertia. I stopped.  I don’t think I should have.  Or maybe the lesson is maybe I should stop more often so my mind and body know how to react to it.  Honestly, I’m not sure. Maybe I’ll take another Percoset and ponder it.  I do know this though…don’t mess with the laws of science.  I don’t care who you think you are…they win…every…last…time.  So, I sit here just waiting…waiting until I can get into motion again. And, then, who knows…I may never stop again….because…if you haven’t noticed, the juices are flowing and my normal life continues to march on which means there’s always a story to tell, my friends, always!

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  1. Bonnie Brownell
    June 5, 2011 at 3:09 pm

    Another beautifully written piece. The mother in me wants to say, leave her alone inertia, she need to rest! Stupid inertia!! (not a mother thing to say) ;-)

  2. karen
    June 5, 2011 at 7:40 pm

    oh no! Sorry to hear about your vacation-induced injury. Hope you’re back in motion!

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