“Ted, where’ve you been?”
I’ve received numerous variations on that question recently, with good reason: except for the occasional tweet or status update, I’ve been on vacation from social media for a few weeks now. But I kind of didn’t decide to make it official until I started writing this post, so I hadn’t told anyone. Which is rude of me – especially last week, when my birthday came and left, and I failed to thank all my longtime friends for their well wishes.
Perhaps I should start with that: I’ve been impolite, and I hope my absence hasn’t offended any of you. Please accept my apology. I’ll be back soon, I’m sure of it. I hope you’re still there for me when I return, be that tomorrow morning or… well, a bit later.
Why have I been so uninvolved lately? Hmm. Ever get into a little accident – in your car, tripping on the stairs; wherever – and in retrospect it’s not so little after all? That’s me. On November 30 someone ran a red light and (*ehem*) gave me the opportunity to replace our family car. In the process I was tossed around a bit, even though I was wearing a seatbelt and the airbags deployed.
I walked out of the wreck with a few scrapes. All set, right? Sure, I was dizzy, fuzzyheaded, and had a headache, but so what? After all, I’m a big, strong man! A former athlete! A father. A business leader. No blood, no foul. Right?
Except I found myself taking naps – naps! – for the first time since college. December was a wash, work-wise, which frustrated me to no end, as I was in the process of launching a startup. January arrived, and with it, my resolution to put this stupid accident behind me. To stop lollygagging. To get on with it already!
I’m a man of action, to channel the Man in the Mask from the Coiné family’s favorite movie. If your arm isn’t in a cast, you get back to work. If it is, you work one-handed!
Even as I write this, a very loud voice in my head is telling me to suck it up. After all, “You gotta whip yourself,” as my New England Yankee grandfather used to say.
And that’s where I want to bring the focus of this post around to you, or to those close to you, or to those you work with. My concussion was mild: don’t doubt that. I’m mostly just fine. There is a world full of people with bigger problems than my remaining little soon-to-disappear symptom or two.
I’d like you to think of them; or of you, if it’s your turn for something to sideline you. Be understanding of them; be nice to yourself! You know what? You’re probably a terrific person who deserves a little understanding. Please, give it to yourself.
We all go through things in life, not all of them wonderful. In retrospect, those low points that we all must endure are among the things that make life the most eventful, and often make us stronger for the experience – even if the experience is something way, way worse than a little, soon-to-pass head boo-boo like mine.
So don’t feel sorry for yourself, if you can help it – and if you can’t help it, reach out to a friend for help, even if it’s just to talk.
And if you’re on the other side of that equation, and you find your friend has clammed up lately, as I had, reach out. Just ask, “Susie, where’ve you been?” You may prompt them to stop being so damned-Yankee proud, private, and silent, and share something they’re going through that you can help them with.
Even if, like me, the only help she needs is for you to be there for her at the other end of her down time.
Thanks, my friends. I’m grateful to have you in my life.