I spent most of my summer in Maine this year. That was a life detour. I was in between homes and had a health scare, so I made the decision to go stay at my grandfather’s summer home for a few weeks. The weeks turned into months and despite how beautiful and peaceful the Maine woods are, it was a really, really hard time. I had a few back surgeries years ago and I’ve always had an underlying weakness in my back. But what I’ve learned over the years is that I will inevitably injure my back during deeply stressful times. And until I can get the stress under control, my back won’t get better. So 2020 being THE year of stress, lol, it’s not surprising that I re-injured my back.
So for most of this year, I haven’t been able to walk more than a few steps without intense pain. I didn’t worry about it too much because I know my back and my body. I know that I can power through photo shoots and even boxing up my stuff and moving. I can do it … it just hurts. And I also know that it won’t heal until I can feel calm and stable. I didn’t talk about it much except for with a few people because I was trying really hard to focus on other things, which is also something I’ve learned is really necessary for me when dealing with any kind of chronic health situation.
While I was in Maine, I bought my first GoPro camera and decided to focus on nature through video. I don’t really know that much about video, so it took up more mental space than photographing stills and the distraction was welcome. Just the simple act of being in nature typically brings me joy. But it’s so incredibly hard to feel joy when you’re in pain. It’s possible … you just have to focus a lot harder. So each of these little video clips was me trying to switch my focus from pain to the beauty around me.
As for my back now, it’s taken a few months of me getting resettled into my new home before it really started feeling significantly better. But now I can take a hike and while it still hurts a bit, it’s so so much better and I know it’s on its way to a full recovery again. It NEVER fails to amaze me how tied our emotions are to our physical wellness. If I didn’t know from past experience that such a crippling pain could heal with some time and calm … I would assume drastic measures were the only option. I guess that’s the best part about growing older. You start storing away experiences and knowledge that serve you well with each new trial that comes your way.