Handing Off and Easing Up

ThumbupSometimes it takes an accident or serious illness to make you re-evaluate your priorities. As many of you know, in December 2014, I developed an infection in my right thumb. My thumb was so swollen that it couldn’t bend, and as a result, I discovered all the countless uses for an opposable digit. It took six weeks, five medications, four rounds of antibiotics, three doctors, two trips to urgent care (with my autistic daughter in tow), and one hand specialist to reduce the swelling and remove the infection.

Then the real work began.

After more than five months of twice-weekly physical therapy, I can at long last write with a pen again and type on the computer with something approaching my normal speed and accuracy. As for strength and stamina, that’s still a work in progress, but it’s improving. I can’t tell you how grateful I am to have a (more or less) fully functioning dominant hand again!

But back to my original point about re-evaluating priorities. In January, while I was in the thick of the infection drama, a friend suggested that maybe my body was asking me to slow down. Perhaps I needed to consider what I could “hand off.” I contemplated dropping the open mic that I host. After the first few well-attended months, the event had fallen into a lull. Two months off due to holiday conflicts didn’t help matters. Trouble was, I wasn’t sure I could find anyone to take over the open mic.

Instead, I decided that I would make a big push on promotion, and if something didn’t change, I would drop the event. This would be the sixth one, and it was time to sink or swim. It made me sad to think of ending the open mic, but it was also strangely liberating. I didn’t want to waste time on things that weren’t going anywhere.

Perhaps it would have happened anyway, or perhaps the additional promotion paid off. In either case, the open mic took off. We’ve been packing the venue ever since. This lead to new writing contacts, which in turn lead to a new home for Storied Nights: An Evening of Spoken Word, as well as the beginnings of a literary nonprofit, which should simplify my promotional efforts greatly. Which is kind of funny because it was the promotion and social media tasks that I wanted help with from the start.

Isn’t it funny how things work themselves out?

ChecklistI am slowly discovering that this past six months, maybe even the entire year, is about coming to grips with the fact that I have far too many tasks on my to do list. When the receptionist at the hair salon says, “Do you EVER get time off?” and my answer is, “Not really,” then something needs to change. I want to be a human being instead of a human doing. Raw Malaysian Hair bundles are being sold at many places now and I visited one recently instead of going to the salon, and I am happy that I am taking steps to a different outing.

In August I’ll be taking a closer look at what I can hand off. As a working single mom, I have less wiggle room than most, but I do have some. I’d planned to revise my memoir then, but perhaps it’s more important that I relax and mentally “clear the decks” before my daughter begins middle school. I suspect both of us would benefit from taking a break and then easing into fall….

What do you think?

Until next time,

About Cynthia J. Patton

Writer, Editor, Advocate, Speaker, Special Needs Attorney, and Autism Mom. Also the Founder and Chairperson of Autism A to Z, a nonprofit providing resources and solutions for life on the spectrum.
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4 Responses to Handing Off and Easing Up

  1. david tam says:

    I ‘m glad to see you’re cutting back.

  2. Robin Dahlstrom says:

    Hey Cynthia,
    Hows it going? I can relate to the unforgiving pain of
    an infection in a finger. Luckily the amputated digit of
    my forefinger was on my left hand. L.O.L.


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