For most people, that probably wouldn't be big news, but here's the thing: once upon a time I was a league bowler. I was never in the running to beat any ABC records or anything like that, but I had a 164 average and I had occasional brushes with 200. Then, 2.5 years ago, on the morning I was scheduled to start a brand-new full time job, I broke my shoulder.
It was, perhaps, the dumbest injury in this history of western civilization. It was a clear morning and the pavement wasn't wet or icy, but I slipped (apparently on nothing) at the gas station and landed right on the ball of my shoulder.
That was inconvenient enough, what with me starting this WRITING job and not being able to use my dominant hand, but there was another glitch. Because my first official act in the job had been to take a day off to spend in the emergency room, and then my performance was limited by the fact that I couldn't use my right arm, and then my daughter had an emergency that required me to take a few days off, I never really got time to do rehab. Or to get my follow-up x-rays from the pneumonia I was recovering from when I broke my shoulder.
My lungs recovered on their own. My shoulder did not. 2.5 years later I'm still automatically reaching for things with my right arm and finding out that it no longer bends that way or that whatever I'm trying to grab is too heavy or that I have any one of a hundred other limitations that I can't seem to get my mind around.
To be honest, I was afraid to try bowling. If I couldn't pour a gallon jug of milk with my right hand--and I can't--then how could I possibly swing a ball heavier than that jug of milk, and do it twenty times a game? And if I wasn't going to be able to bowl again, I was in no hurry to find out. I know that sounds silly, since during all that time I wasn't bowling I...well...wasn't bowling. It probably didn't matter much whether or not I COULD if I never DID. But I wanted to keep the hope alive.
But this week I began a belated process of reclaiming my life. I say belated because I expected this to happen when I changed jobs in January and cut out my 3.5 hour round trip commute. I had visions of a clean house and civilized dinners and maybe even a social life. And for the first few weeks, those things started to come together. But as I couldn't reveal then and you now know, I was involved in the creation of a full-service bar review course. We started in January, and we'll have students in the classroom in November. That meant that, far from gaining free time by cutting out the commute, my work hours expanded into something I'd never before experienced--not even when I was practicing law. Several times I worked for 24-30 hour stretches without sleep. I worked seven days most weeks and 16-18 hours most days.
And then our product launched and, while there was still a lot of work to be done, I decided it was time for some balance. 8 hours of sleep. Food I cooked myself. Taking time to read novels in French. And tonight, bowling. I can't remember the last time I was so delighted to be mediocre. I had to use a lighter ball and I bowled a...um....well...105...but I got through two games without pain and through four strikes. There's hope.