The Other Side

“Writing is so difficult that I often feel that writers, having had their hell on earth, will escape all punishment hereafter.” – Jessamyn West

It is human nature to be comfortable with the familiar, the routine. The unknown creates unsettledness and fear. When I slipped on the ice in December and injured my hip, I initially thought I’d pulled my groin and didn’t consider it a big deal. As time went on—six weeks, two months and now three months—the prospect of never running again became real. A consequence of the injury was that it crippled my other passion—writing. I am a writer by profession and a lifelong runner, and now I grapple with life on the other side of what is familiar and comfortable.

I’m learning that self-awareness and perspective are effective in healing and rebuilding. For instance, a hip injury from a fall is not the same as stepping on a land mine in a war zone and losing both legs, nor is writer’s block as paralyzing as watching a loved one suffer a serious illness. In fact, people overcome more drastic adversities than my own every day and come out stronger and live more productive lives than before the events occurred. What I’m saying to myself now is–Okay, knucklehead, you screwed up. Get over it!

I may have been delusional thinking that I’d run forever, or at least into my nineties. If my plan is cut short, should I go lock myself into a closet for the remainder of my days or get back up, dust myself off and move on? In my former life I managed organizations that went through downsizings and reorganizations, and those who were the most stressed, even paralyzed, were the people who were most resistant to change. The one constant in life is change. You either adapt or flounder, and the sooner you learn to accept and adjust, let the daylight through the clouds, and look at other options, the sooner life begins to improve.

AoR - RockyThis is the longest I’ve gone between updating this blog since I created it over two years ago. Before the injury, I was writing something every day. This is the first substantive thing I’ve written in three weeks, and guess what? It is cathartic. This post is the first step to recovering my writing and intellectual life, and therefore kick starting the other areas of my life as well. What is even more satisfying is that I am able to share it with almost 250 followers and thousands of readers. So thank you!

Mighty WritersI’m not certain at this point how I will progress from here, either with my physical activities or my writing. I do know that I will continue to write and be active–that is my nature. I’m waiting for the snow to clear and eager for the cycling season to begin. In the near-term I’ll continue to search for an agent or publisher for my short story collection about the working class, and plan to offer at least one story on my website Writings by Jim Brennan. I may use my writing blog Rite2Scribe or travel blog at Rite2Wander as platforms, but again I’m undecided. Regardless, Rite2Run is near and dear to my heart and I will always link my work it, hoping you will come along for the journey.

Again, thank you!Cycling

About Jim Brennan

Jim writes from Bucks County, PA. and runs most places his travels take him.
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16 Responses to The Other Side

  1. I’m with you, Jim! Wherever this takes you, I hope it’s full of adventure and fun. I do hope you get to run again – even if it’s not at the same level as you once did.

    • Jim Brennan says:

      Your comment made me smile, thanks! Yeah, definitely up for some adventure and fun, that will never change. Stay well, thanks for checking in, and Move, Eat, Create!

  2. gorunjess says:

    I’ve been battling my own loss of running for the past three months. I understand your pain – it is difficult to toe the line between grieving the loss of your sport and accepting that life goes on. I’m easing back in after 12 weeks off and am nervous about the possibility of not getting back to my old self. I hope you can find peace no matter what the outcome! I’ve always enjoyed reading your posts.

    • Jim Brennan says:

      Thanks, Jess. And good luck to you. Take it slow and listen to your body when it tells you it’s had enough. We’ll both be back out there eventually. Thanks for the encouragement.

  3. Awww Jim… I may be a lot greener than you are, but I do know that everything is temporary, if you give it enough time! I’m glad you are writing again and look forward to hearing more about your adventures, whatever form they might take. I hope that somewhere down the line you’ll write a new post on perspective; namely that a few months (of not running) doesn’t equal forever! We still have an ultra to run together!

    • Jim Brennan says:

      Oh, don’t worry, Fullmoonrunner, I’ll be running again. I didn’t realize the tone of my post was so morose until I started getting comments. For real, I know I’ll be running again. I look back to 2009 after my third knee surgery and the orthopedic doctor told me to run short. Yeah, right! So yeah, that ultra isn’t out of the question yet. Thanks!

      • Phew… you had me worried there for a moment Jim! =D I look forward to following your progress when you can take your first few running steps again (including the inevitable “where has all my fitness gone?” rant). It’ll be great, I’m sure! ;-)

  4. Life’s a journey! When this stupid weather clears and you’re on that bike, you’ll feel better. Maybe something new is waiting to develop! Like zumba classes! Or ukelele lessons!

  5. Jim, this sound ominous. I hope things are okay. Hang in there my friend.

  6. Do not despair!
    We all think we will never recover when we suffer a bad injury, but usually we do. It might take time and an awful lot of work, but the body has that amazing capacity to repair itself.
    Do you think you could find a specialised coach/physio/gait specialist to help you? In our digital world, where we can send video’s of ourselves to professionals far away, you have much more possibilities than ever before. Never give up!

    • Jim Brennan says:

      Thanks for the encouragement, and don’t worry, I never give up. The post must sound more negative than I actually feel. I have an appointment with the orthopedic doctor next week and am expecting physical therapy. I’m still with the yoga, walk regularly and am laboring with my son rehabbing houses. And like I mentioned, cycling season is right around the corner. I just can’t run, that is the maddening thing. So yes, I am always open to new therapies and suggestions. Thank again!

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