It’s not what I did, it’s what I didn’t do


I’ve been off work for more than a month recovering from foot surgery. I have another 2 weeks to go before the doctor will release me.

In my mind, I had a vast list of things I was going to accomplish during this so-called “down” time.

I was going to:

  • review & file EOB (Explanation of Benefits) statements from last year
  • catch up on watching recent Academy Award nominated movies (2009, 2010 etc)
  • shred credit card statements and receipts
  • reorganize the top of my dresser (it’s a humble-jumble of jewelry, perfume, buttons and receipts)
  • read at least half of the books stacked on my end table
  • and much more that I barely remember

I didn’t do any of those things.

It’s not what I did .. it’s what I didn’t do.

I didn’t:

  • Use an alarm clock… instead, I slept until I woke up.  Letting my body reset itself has been most restorative
  • Mind letting the answering machine pick up calls (couldn’t get there in time anyways)
  • Watch any Academy Award winning movies. Instead, I snuggled up with old favorites like “Hitch” and “Notting Hill”
  • Cook for weeks at a time (unheard of, especially for me)
  • Try to be a hero; I took pain meds when I felt “the pinch”
  • Read anything more challenging than “Readers Digest” or “People”
  • Blow dry my hair; too tiring, too hard to stand, and too easy to pull my wet, clean hair back into a ponytail and let it air dry
  • Forget to say “please” and “thank you”
  • Call the office or respond to emails with any particular regularity
  • Resist the urge to nap when necessary
  • Refuse friends who offered to cook for us
  • Miss an opportunity to greet our boy after school
  • Fail to appreciate everyone who helped me

This morning, while listening to an April thunderstorm thrash our house with rain,  I reflected on this time of recovery.

Some of it I don’t remember (Hello Vicodin!) and much of it I do.  What did I learn?

The best laid plans of mice and men!

We think we’re in control.  Our bodies have a way of making us take a time out.

Categories: Blogging, Family, Home, Humor, Joy, Life, Life Lessons, Personal, Self Discovery, Thoughts, Uncategorized, Wisdom, Women | Tags: , , , , | 22 Comments

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22 thoughts on “It’s not what I did, it’s what I didn’t do

  1. cooper

    I took a year off to write a novel. I also had a list of a thousand other things to do. I got two drafts done and the thousand other things remained untouched. We build high expectations and when we don’t meet them, we raise the bar HIGHER. How goofy is that?? It’s OK to LOWER the bar…

    • you’re right .. goofy. In my world of to-do lists, I had to learn to scrap the list and instead … listen. Thanks for commenting! MJ

  2. I hope you are recovering nicely and will soon be back on your feet. Sometimes nature has a way of forcing us do what we know we should do anyway (but wouldn’t without being forced). It’s also very humbling when we realize that the world can keep right on turning without us being there to rotate the axis!

    • It’s coming but it sure is slow, and I am not very patient I’m afraid. The good thing is that being forced to slow down has ultimately been good for me. 🙂 You are right, it is humbling when we have to stop it all …. and the good thing is that all that I took for granted? I’m now kind of amazed by b/c I can’t do it yet. Thanks for weighing in, ITWL :). Cheers! MJ

  3. Good job girl! The best way to recover is the RECOVER! Mind. Body. Spirit. Way to take care of yourself and let others take care of you too.

    • It’s been a hard lesson to learn but clearly one I needed to do = unplug, relax and let the chips fall where they may. The surprise? It all worked out! 🙂 Cheers! MJ

  4. Sometimes it is good to have down time. Glad to hear your time has been restorative.

  5. Sounds like you still had a productive week. Letting your body catch up on sleep and having some lazy time will make you more productive next week.

    • You are so correct, Paul. The thing is, I’m pretty sure this is the week I’d better start using an alarm clock again b/c my regular schedule is going to return and I need to be ready for it. Thanks for visiting – and commenting :). MJ

  6. Good for you! So glad you are on your way back to “well” and have had a good rest for the soul as well as the body! And maybe you’ve been “well” all along…just off your feet and in a different rhythm than your norm.

    Great that you’ve had support from family and friends during this time too. It’s always good to see that others can take care of the things that you would normally do…you know you’re a good teacher/mentor when your family can pitch in and make life work without you. And good that they have an opportunity to take care of you when you need it. Feels good, doesn’t it?!


    • Sheila, I definitely agree with you. It 1) sure is nice when others step up and 2) it makes us feel like we might have paved the way all along. Lastly – it’s always good to give others a chance to be our heroes. Thanks for your kind words of support, cheers! MJ

  7. Boy! That’s the truth. If you don’t lie down…it will make you. I think your attitude is so healthy. It’s how you look at it that determines a success. Great post.

    • Well thank you, Lissa. If nothing else, I’ve learned along the way that old saying, “Life’s what happens when you’re busing making other plans.” Thanks for visiting, MJ

  8. This time was for RECOVERY, not for all those other things, anyway. And it seems like you are doing the recovery part very well!

    • Indeed. But you know how us moms can’t ever sit still and just be? (I sure can’t). This is one time that I stopped fighting it and just rolled in it. Cheers! 🙂 MJ

  9. I know exactly how you feel! After I had surgery 2 years ago, I was going to get all the photo albums in order and scan all the old photos so I would have electronic copies of everything. To date, those things have not been accomplished.

    Kudos to you for not beating yourself up over things that didn’t happen.

    • Thanks, Ter. I’m glad we’re goal setters but I don’t know where this “use every second or else” mentality comes from. Oh wait .. yes I do !! Thanks for weighing in :), MJ

  10. I’m so glad you took care of yourself 🙂

    • Sometimes it takes me longer to learn the lesson and this was one of those instances where what I thought I’d do did not even match what I did! 🙂 Thanks, Jaclyn, for visiting & commenting, MJ

  11. What a wonderful post. I dream of doing just that restoring my mind, spirit and body. I think it’s fabulous you went with it and let life lead you where you really needed to be.. happy!

    • Thank you for your encouragement; honestly, it took some time to shed the old habits and to lean into this instead. But .. I am glad I did. Cheers! MJ

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