Dec 1, 2014

Choosing Success


That is how many days it has been since my right hand worked.

If you don't want to count back in your calendar, the date was August 30.

The story my husband likes to tell is the house was being attacked by ninjas, and he wasn't there to defend us so I had to. There are often bears and babies in his version.

The real story is I was standing on a chair, picking apples, when the chair folded. My right hand got caught in between the seat and back of the folding chair and I snapped it.

Then it healed wrong.

For almost eight weeks.

Then I had surgery where they rebroke it, put in a plate and eight pins and did exploratory surgery near my last knuckle to make sure that none of the gazillion tendons, ligaments and bands were ruptured.

The surgery was on Oct. 23. When I was all the way awake from my surgery, I took one look at the massive bandage than covered all but two of my fingers and extended over halfway up my forearm and was certain I wasn't going to be able to write for a while.

Once the operative haze cleared, I found myself reaching toward the characters I've created. I drafted, outlined, and researched this story I'm writing for over a year before I felt like I knew who they were and the stories they wanted to tell. Their stories didn't want to wait until my hand was working.

So I brought my laptop to the couch, kept my right arm elevated to elbow height as directed by my surgeon, and I started to learn the fine art of left handed typing.

And when Nov. 1st rolled around, I threw my hat into the NaNoWriMo ring. And when I got the initial cast off ten days later, I was on track.

Having a disruption like this has made me think about several of the comments I received. Most of them were variations of "I can't believe you are doing this" and "How are you able"? First, you'd be surprised at how much typing is done by your left hand. Second, there were a lot of typos. Third, what other option did I have?

The last one got me thinking about not only my injury (and re-injury) but life itself. I know many people right now struggling with hard things - more than a broken dominant hand. Many times they will default to the third response - people all over the world are impressive because their current position in life requires them to be so.

But I don't think that we need to wait for life to rough us up a little to show that tenacity. I'm certain we all have things we want to do, things that push us in the direction we love. But often those things get tossed because of all the things we have to do, or we justify our ways out of pursuing dreams and goals because of whatever reason we use as our current default excuse. What if, for that thing that we dream about, for that thing that we want so much it makes our heart ache - what if for that, we shifted our brain to thinking we had no other choice.

Here's the awesome thing though. We do. We have that choice to try and beat the next level on Candy Crush, get caught up on our favorite show, add a few more followers on Pinterest, double click a few more pictures on Instagram, or we can take that time to chase our dreams. We can use everything under the sun as an excuse to not do what we want to do (and because we want it, it is probably harder), or we can chase that desire with every spare second of our lives. We can live in silent envy of the people who have the dream we want, or we can change that longing into doing and make progress.

Remember Paul Harvey's The Rest of the Story? Here's mine.

I have entered NaNoWriMo every year since 2009. I have lost every year - usually by about 10,000 words, sometimes more.

On Friday, Nov. 28 2014 - a month and five days after I had my hand reconstructed - I won.

This isn't the full dream - just a step toward it. But it has me on the right path, and progressing on it, and that is the most important thing. 

What's your big dream? What's standing in the way of you chasing it? What small thing could you do TODAY to get or progress on the path toward it?


Jenilyn Collings said...

Congratulations on winning NaNo! That's awesome!

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Congratulations - you did it!
Some people make excuses. You just made it happen. That's the difference.
And I do like the Ninja story.

Andrew Leon said...

I broke my left wrist while I was working on my first novel and thought that was going to delay me a while even though it was just my left hand, but, yeah, you'd be surprised (well, you wouldn't) at how you can learn to manage.

Neurotic Workaholic said...

Ouch! Sorry about your hand, but good for you for finding a way to write anyway. And congratulations on Nano. I have more than one dream, but I think that one thing that stands in my way is the fact that I keep comparing myself to people who've already made their dreams come true. I know I shouldn't do that, but sometimes I can't help it.

JeffO said...

Excellent post, Tasha. Congratulations on being a NaNo winner, but bigger congratulations on not letting your injury hold you back.

Anonymous said...

Great post, Tasha! What an inspiration you are and CONGRATS on winning NaNo!