A Moment of Thanksgiving this Thanksgiving

fall leaves on burrard inletLucky us! I have half a mug of coffee left! Just enough for us to squeeze in a quickie!

What a FANTASTIC day. Beautiful, sunny. I’m going into work and kissing ass to have a short day. It’s fantastic working for women who understand that the here-and-now is as important as the year-end fiscal, and life is to be lived, not missed. Great bosses! Yet another thing I’m thankful for as Canada’s Thanksgiving weekend rolls into play.

Today is all but guaranteed, they think, to be the last day of unseasonable weather — tomorrow, the temperature drops like the NYSE after a Madoff scandal.

Oh, the difference a year makes. Every coloured leaf I admire makes me appreciate how far this year has taken me.

Last year at this time, it was just sinking in that I had done something horrible to my back. Had you told me then that I would be facing 9 months of rehab, the first three spent crippled, medicated, and in misery, well, the odds are I would have had a total mental breakdown, and come January or so, I pretty much did.

I enjoyed exactly 0% of last year’s autumn, and it broke my heart. I’m making up for it this year!

I spent this day last year medicated out of my mind, lying on a hardwood floor, eating pizza and cereal, drifting in and out of consciousness, in more pain than I’ve ever felt in my life. Cockroaches were having a field day in my kitchen, and I was pretty much at one of the emotional low points of my life. Debilitating pain and injury can do that to you. The fear is crippling in and of itself, especially when you’re too broke to do the things it needs you to do so you can heal.

This year, I’m cycling, stretching, working out, taking pictures like the one you see here snapped last night on a ride, and basically feeling awesomely optimistic and curious about where my life is going. Life is fucking great — as great as it can be when you’re a writer chick catching up on old debts, living the broke life. Some of us do it well. And some of us can experience gratitude even when we can’t afford shiny new toys and big things.

Tonight, I have a special “me, and me alone” date. I’m cooking myself the kind of dinner I know would get me laid — and THEN some, baby. And I’m not sharing it with ANYBODY. Fuck all y’all. Greed is good!

I’ll be smiling a lot to myself tonight, smugly enjoying how far I’ve come, how much I’ve replaced almost all of my fear with hope in the space of a year, and with very good reason to do so.

I’ll be writing, savouring the difference a year brings, taking some time to remember the fear that crippled me as much as the pain during that injury — because my back kept getting WORSE for the whole first week, which takes us to Sunday.

Ironically, this weekend is Thanksgiving here in Canada.

I *KNOW* what I am thankful for. Do you?

Oh, god, how scared I was a year ago today. My eyes well up just thinking about it. I was so, so, so scared. In a space of three weeks I went from climbing & descending a 30-floor highrise in about 24 minutes and having lost 50 pounds, to being in absolute agony and taking THREE MINUTES just to stand up off the floor.

I didn’t know what my future held. Would my back heal? How long would it take? Would I ever be fit? Would being injured cause me to gain all my weight back? What the HELL was gonna happen?

[grin]

And here we are. DONE, baby. I’m not 100% in my back. Still, not. I’m probably 90%, but in the course of rehabbing it, I’ve gotten rid of my chronic neck, shoulder, and headache issues. My posture is a million times better, I can walk distances without pain for the first time in my adult life… I mean, who knew, right? Maybe, without my back injury, I never would have overcome those things — because they all still plagued me even after my 50 pounds I’d lost last summer.

Sure, I’m not pain-free or completely absolutely fit, but you know what? I’m still stronger than I’ve ever been, almost as fit as I’ve ever been, and I have fewer injuries over all to bog me down. I’m pretty confident in my body, and I’m more confident in myself.

Today, I’m thankful for who I am as a result of that injury. I’m thankful I know how much further I have to go, and that I appreciate my ability to get there. I’m thankful for the friends I have who have been patient with me during my hard times, and more thankful I now know who not to count on when times are tough. I’m thankful for the people I can count on, and do count on, more than ever.

All in all, it has been the hardest year of my life. Harder than my mother’s death. Harder than my spiral into chemically-induced depression in ’06. Harder than anything, because all my previous “hard” years just required surviving — this time, I’ve had to fight every damn day to get past all this. Serious rehab makes you dig deep when the threat is, “this or chronic, lifelong injury”. This weekend, this holiday, it symbolizes all of it coming to an end.

My “hard year” has been settling down, adversity-wise, for quite some time now, so much so that I feel I’m done with adversities. Yes, life’s still chaotic and crazy, but it’s chaotic and crazy because good things are happening for me and I’m working hard on getting to where I want to be. That’s a good chaotic and crazy. It’s all good!

And I’m real fuckin’ thankful.

And… if you’re not where you want to be this Thanksgiving? Make it YOUR year to change, because I’m telling you, the feeling you get on the other side of those hard-fought waters, baby… if I could bottle and sell this, I’d be the drug-dealer of the century. What a fucking high!

Happy Thanksgiving weekend, Canada. Happy, happy, happy.