Several years ago, Mary Chapin Carpenter put out her version of a song titled, “The Bug”. It seems there is also a Dire Straits version. Some of the words in the lyrics differ when compared, yet the chorus is the same. “Sometimes you’re the windshield. Sometimes you’re the bug.” I have loved this lyric and Mary’s version of the song for several years. I find it aptly suits the way life can be. Sometimes life and everything in it can be going great but then, BAM! You’re the bug once buzzing along on its merry way only to make final contact with a windshield that came out of nowhere. It can surely ruin your day. Lately, I’ve been seeing a lot of bug days.
So what got me singing this song over and over in my head today. Well, I had a half-marathon event this weekend. I knew I hadn’t appropriately trained for it but I was going to go do it anyway. It’s all about the bling and this is a five year race medal series. I knew I was going to be the bug. And boy was I ever the bug, by mile 4, and I still had 9.1 miles to go. It was truly horrible and scary at some points as I kept trudging along, not willing to give in or up, even as I lost feeling at times from the waist down (except for the ever growing foot blisters, they were pounding). Thankfully a group of women started chatting with me and I mentioned I was scared I wasn’t physically going to make it. They made it their mission to “get me across that finish”! Some of them were not feeling the greatest but could have still left me as we got closer. They didn’t. They stayed pinned up on that “windshield” with me as we drove the train into the station, one agonizing mile after another. They all hugged me as we got our medals. I thanked them and then I released them. “Please, go have your fun now that you’ve gotten me back.” I would have been welcomed to stay further with them but I didn’t want to out stay my welcome. To be truthful, I also wanted to be alone to lick my wounds a little too.
Flash forward to this morning. I’m still in pain but not as badly as yesterday. This song starts going off in my head. Yes, I truly am the bug right now. Little secret. On the drive home, I received an email saying I wasn’t going to be further considered for a job position…in retail. My job hunting is going so well that even a retailer won’t hire me and during the holiday season. Now that’s being a bug to the windshield. Although I wanted to stay buried in my bed covers, I got up knowing it may be a painful day in many ways. Here’s the thing. The first several steps were painful, but as I kept moving it got a little easier. Instead of canceling on a networking event, I decided to go. I was going to be counterintuitive.
By definition, counterintuitive is doing the opposite of what intuition would lead you to expect or do. Most people would tell me to maybe have stayed in bed and off my feet. Heck, my own head was telling me this. But there’s a recovery secret I was once told by a very athletic friend. He always swore you should get up and at least go for a walk after physically beating yourself up at a race. Gets the lactic acid moving and tells your body it’s going to have to move on. Dang it! He’s pretty correct on this. When I follow this suggestion, my pain levels go down quicker and alleviate sooner. So even though I was in no physical mood to move, I got up and about to go to this event. And then I also realized, although I was in no mental mood to go network about finding employment, I did -though some would not fault me for wanting to just take a break. Again, my head sure didn’t want me to go. Having a pity party would be justified. Yet just as physically trying to move around made my body feel better so did expending the effort to go participate in the meeting make my mind and heart feel better.
Believe me. I’m still going to be hurting from time to time in the future but my day to be the windshield will return. If I can make my way to stay the course to the finish line like I did yesterday’s race, then I can stay the course on other things going on in my life. And maybe along the way, others will come in for a time to help me and shoulder the burden a little so it’s not always so hard or so lonely.