Strategies for endurance

by tamarjacobson

Quote of the day:

I love the dark hours of my being. / My mind deepens into them. / There I can find, as in old letters, / the days of my life, already lived, / and held like a legend, and understood. Rilke

On the drive home from work last night I heard Phillip Roth talking to Terry Gross. I was particularly struck by their discussion about developing strategies for endurance as we grow older. While I have not reached the honorable age of the character in his latest novel, I too am resigning myself to losing the younger me and finding ways to accept the challenging changes as they unfold.

I laughed at myself this morning as I reflected on my doctor’s follow-up visit yesterday. Feeling emotionally contained and stoic as I jumped up onto his examining table I found myself blurting out uncontrollably, "Please don’t be alarmed by the condition of my toes. My feet were rather battered up this summer from a one hundred mile hike I completed in England." Needless to say, the doctor was not even entertaining the notion of examining my feet. He was an ob/gyn. Once those words had escaped my lips and were hanging out there, I continued, puzzled by my own outburst, "How strange. One never really knows where the shame will creep in … does one?" My voice trailed off and he smiled kindly saying something about he would never have noticed my toes in the first place. The day had proceeded with meetings and classes well into the night and concluded as I drove home exhausted and fell into bed.

This morning, I took my coffee out to the patio and reflected on my visit with the doctor. Blocking the anxiety of follow-up diagnosis and news I had focused my attention on my one or two bruised toe-nails instead of the matter at hand.

I suppose shame and fear accompany one another closely at times.