I have been wondering some things, lately. First, I've been noticing my body, in some kind of yucky ways. There is the part about how I have gained weight and how I rarely move around outside the way I used to, and the way I long to. There is the part about how I am not as strong as I once was. There is the part about how I have Crohn's disease, which means a fundamental part of my body isn't working right for reasons that are still mysterious to me and to others who are smarter than me. There is a new, recent part, a flare of tendonitis or carpal tunnel, that has me going to the occupational therapist and jiggering around with the ergonomics of my workstation and tossing a tennis ball to myself. And my teeth hurt lately, and because I get spooked easily by dentists I haven't been in too long. I'm falling apart, friend, and I don't like noticing my body this way. I'd rather notice what I can do than what I can't do, and so I've been wondering about the shift, how I got like this.
I've gotten accustomed to saying, this is what I was born to do, when people ask me about my job. But people ask me if I miss coaching, and what I say is I miss being outside as much as I used to be. I miss the physicality of my old life -- how a significant part of my job had to do with observing reality, and objects, and wind and water. Bodies and boats, decisions and mistakes, movements you could practice and perfect. There are a lot of things I don't miss about it. I knew other coaches who would lie awake at night thinking about a particular physical mistake a sailor had made and worrying it over and over in their head, and I never did that. I love sailing and when I was serious about competing I got pretty good, but I wasn't ever really obsessed the way you have to be to get great at something. I do daydream and fixate about how people make the decisions over how to spend their time, how they define themselves and frame or respond to opportunities. It does seem to be what I have been thinking about all of my life. So the subject matter of my work now interests me in a livelier way than anything else I've ever done. In this way I was born to do this. But I was also born to go outside, and to walk daily, and to see the water, and I miss those parts of my life.
The occupational therapist has made me notice my body again and it is a bittersweet feeling. I miss being strong and flexible and loose. I miss training and the feeling of physical progress. What I notice now is tension and stress. Mostly it's from sitting wrong, and we're fixing my chair and the placement of my keyboard. Some of it is from the way my days are chopped up, and the pace at which I meet with students. It's extra busy right now and fitting my attention into the half-hour student appointment slices is kind of like my chair and my keyboard setup -- it's not quite how I'm built, and I can do it but there is a small mental strain from keeping it up, from bending my mind into the patterns of an appointment-filled day when it would rather roam a little, or spend longer on certain puzzles than on others. Some small modifications in the way I work will probably help, but I don't know quite what they are.