Day 23,685: Swimming the Back Stroke.
The family name is Karp. Many misspell it Carp. We have gotten used to using fish analogies to honor the name. Throughout their childhoods, both daughters were read and asked us to reread fish story after fish story. They included the obvious ones – The Little Mermaid – to the lesser known A Fish Out of Water by Helen Palmer and P.D. Eastman. Our motto, sung during many bathtub soaks and games, was “just keep swimming.”
I believe in forward motion, just doing any small thing to keep doors open and opportunity aware that you want it to knock. This week, however, I was stopped cold and realized the best way we needed to move forward was to stand still.
It started in Philadelphia. We were looking at condos and found one. It was gorgeous. It was more than we wanted to spend, but not out of the realm of possibility. It was sure to be our next move. Then, while walking away from the property to consider the hows and whys to make it happen my back started to hurt. I still didn’t give up. It’s not my nature.
My husband, the more sedentary of us two, started to rethink the wisdom of this move at this point in time. It sounded like stalling to me. My back felt worse.
He started to fill out the paperwork to make a bid, made stupid mistakes in the filing, had his computer crash, and then gave up to sleep on it. Instead, he had a Sleepless in Ventnor night and, in the morning, advised me he didn’t think it was a good move just yet. He made his argument. I officially backed down, but was still fighting in my head. Then, my back really gave out.
There are many hints here about what the Universe was telling me. I wasn’t listening. I wasn’t having any of it. I was still swimming upstream. My back was so bad I couldn’t sit at work and, luckily, have a standing desk. I spent the day standing still.
In stillness, I thought about next steps. I made a chiropractor appointment. This weekend, there were many errands I thought to do. I sat still and worked on my blogs. I lay still and watched the CNN town hall and worked out my feelings about the Parkland school shooting. My husband worked out his reasons for holding on and new reasons for selling our old North Jersey home. By the end of the weekend we had both moved forward by being still.
Zen Buddhists might say, “Of course, no surprise there,” but I’m not a Zen. I’m a Karp. Fish who don’t move are generally already dead. We keep swimming. I’m on some strong pain meds for my back, but it’s better. It’s best when I’m walking instead of sitting. No surprise there either, because it’s moving, perhaps tacking instead of going in a straight line, and in slower moving waters with different tools, but “still swimming” nonetheless.