“Matt, when was the last time you had a vacation?”

Words of wisdom to smack you upside the head right when you need them. I didn’t realize that I was wound up so tightly that it was that obvious that my boss would notice. Then again, he’s pretty damn sharp, so maybe it wasn’t as obvious as I thought.
+ Feeling physically like I am an invalid
+ heavier than I want to be or should be
+ no physical outlet for stress

= one grumpy, stressed out 38 feeling like he’s 60 yr old man.

I figured it out tonight too. My stress is usually bled off when I work out – riding, martial arts, lifting, running. Thanks to the dumbass in the truck, I really can’t do much of that at all right now. I’ve been going for physical therapy for a few weeks now and it’s getting slightly better – not much pain, just other things that hadn’t occurred to me.

I’m not breathing properly.

That right there makes me physically sick. Why? I’m glad you asked. When I am stressed out, I tend to hunch over. Part lazy, part feeling like I am protecting myself. Hunched over like that, I don’t breathe well – short labored breaths that tend to tighten up the muscles along my neck, shoulders, and spine. So I feel physically worse – which stresses me out. Oh look…It’s a vicious CIRCLE! DAM DUM DUMMMMMMMMMM!!!!

Grumpy at the wife, grumpy at the kids, trying to get too many things done at once…Dude, no wonder I feel like crap.

I did the only thing I could think of. I sat in my dark living room, and I just breathed. (Took breaths? I don’t know, I was an accounting major.) It really helped, to the point where I was having to forcefully expand my chest muscles to take in more air. Which I think is part of my injury, so I guess that’s physical therapy too.

The other thing that made me stop and look around and realize what was going on was that I had the feeling of a complete loss of control and that was stressing me out too 🙂 There’s a guy in my complex that I’ve talked to many times, his name is Steve. He’s got a little pug that he walks around and it’s kind of funny because this 6’4″ guy with this little yipping dog. He was interested in my old car so I gave him a ride and we talked for a bit about it a few months ago.

I just found out that he was out on his motorcycle and he was hit and killed instantly.

Makes you think about things doesn’t it? Makes you think about what is important, and what is bullshit. Makes you wonder how lucky you are to have the people in your life, and the experiences you’ve had.

Am I waxing philosophic because I’m still dealing with crap from my accident? You betcha. It’ll be a long time from now before I can stop wondering why, and thinking about what if’s. But this is just another reason to take a moment and really be thankful, to wonder how we’re so lucky to be able to exist and live, and learn. That’s what life is all about – learning from lessons that experience gives us. Every single thing that happens to you, every bad event, good event, mediocre event, insignificant event – they’re all happening so that you can grow and change. Do I believe in reincarnation or the singularity of this life? Does it matter? Either way, I want to learn and experience as much as possible.

Sitting in one of those Vicious Circles…(dam dum dummmmmmmmm) doesn’t help you live, or grow or change. It’s stressful and ugly and painful, but it’s easier sometimes. It’s easier to go around and around, not doing anything, not learning anything, and just pitying yourself. I did that for four years at ETS and I’ll be damned if I’m going to sit in that whirlpool again.

So thanks Matt. Thanks for making the comment that bumped me to seeing clearer.

To all of those who are stressed, or overwhelmed or miserable.

Breathe. It’s simple. It’s healthy. It helps.