Do you ever watch reruns from your favourite TV shows? The really old ones, like when you were a kid…the ones you might not have fully understood but loved anyway. Maybe even binged on them in your jammies all day, all night, all weekend.
Sometimes they’re awful, like watching Fonzie jump the shark and you know you will never go back there again. Then you remember WKRP in Cincinnati was the coolest TV show ever and you start with the Thanksgiving Turkey episode when Herb Tarlek convinces the station manager that releasing live turkeys from a helicopter would be a really great Thanksgiving promo; thinking the turkeys would fly over the city spreading good will in the market place of rock radio. Then you laugh your ass off while his man-on-the-street, Les Nessman does live commentary of the turkey carnage. Then the early 80’s bender ends and you wonder why TV can’t be that funny anymore and why the witless Kardashians are on TV. And you get stuck looking back at those halcyon days of primetime television and forget about Amy Poehler and Tina Fey.
Some of us think holding on makes us strong, but sometimes it is letting go…Hermann Hesse
Does that ever happen to you? I feel like it’s been happening to me. This holiday season it’s been happening a lot. Nine years ago today I was in the hospital after surgery, trying to walk with a walker, and hoping to be out of the hospital soon soon soon so I could really learn to walk. This time of year always reminds of that – the diagnosis, the surgery, the decimation of my brain’s balance centre and the cancellation of my trip to China to bring home our new daughter.
Every day I look at our daughter and I am beyond grateful that Tom went to China and brought her home. But three, maybe four times a week I look back further, to the before…before brain surgery, when everything was easy. When I was awesome; fearsome really. When I could drop into a bowl of powder on my snowboard, ride my mountain bike through gnarly single track, when I could drink a glass of wine and not worry about stumbling around like I’d had a whole bottle. When I could drive my car after yoga because I wasn’t vertiginous, or wasn’t frightened on a ski hill because my balance centre might crap out and leave me stranded…or when my husband didn’t watch me with worry in his eyes, when he watched me just because.
Looking back, bingeing on the reruns of my life before – the WKRP of why can’t I do this stupid thing like I used to! – has been a load of rotting dead weight. After getting out of surgery I looked back to my sporting days and found things that were helpful; things I used to rebuild my balance centre: drills, attitude, grit, strategy. But lately it’s been an impediment looking back at what I was. I need to move forward as I am. With my limitations, but also with my experience, confidence and strength that I didn’t know was there before. Some of it came from the good old days, but a whole lot came from me – it was there, just waiting for me to dig it out and use it to blaze a new unexpected path forwards.
What lies behind you and what lies in front of you pales in comparison to what lies inside of you…Ralph Waldo Emerson
I’ll bet you have your old reruns too – some WKRP cool, some dreadful and best left forgotten like Fonzie jumping the shark. Indulge in the ones that give you a boost. The ones that remind you what you are made of, what you know, what matters to you know, and how to move onward, forward, upward. I know, it’s a little cheesy, but like a good grilled cheese sandwich there’s a simple honesty to it.
And in case you don’t believe me, or you don’t like the comparison to late 70’s / early 80’s TV shows, I included some timeless words from people way smarter than me to help you out.
Start by doing what is necessary; then do what is possible; and suddenly you are doing the impossible…Francis of Assisi
Even if you fall on your face, you’re still moving forward… Victor Kiam