How long?

I am now 23 years old and I’m not afraid to admit that I’m not the type of person who is okay with getting older.  It amazes me how fast time flies and it’s almost impossible to sit back and understand where all the time went.  Getting older for me also has a possibility to make me more sensitive of the fact that the all-American plan for a young man like myself has not taken place.  I have not graduated from college, I have not moved out of my parents house, and I have no job.  Three accomplishments not met which if not for my injury would have people wondering what the heck my problem is and why I’m not doing anything with my life.  But because of my injury, I have an excuse to put the American dream on hold for now.  I ask myself however, how long will the excuse last?  How long before instead of being labeled as a hard-working, inspiring young man who has been dealt a bad card in life, I become the young man who is making excuses and is too lazy to face the real world.

I can really never see myself as being labeled lazy but I do get frustrated with the fact that my injury has not stopped me from getting older but it has stopped me from achieving certain societal based goals that go along with getting older.  So what’s stopping me from achieving these goals?  Well, nothing really.  I took a class this summer to get my feet wet and I felt as if I was slowly moving towards a goal of an education but now plans have changed.  Once again I’m refocused on recovery and I’m traveling all over the U.S. of A. to discover the best place for recovery to take place.

How long can recovery stay my life?  I have to say honestly I don’t think it can be much longer.  Just like everyone else in this world it’s important that I live a balanced life.  Even though recovery is taking a large portion of my time I must still try and achieve goals that a normal young man living in America should try and achieve.  This is not going to be easy considering all the obstacles I must face on a normal basis, and the amount of time I want to put into my rehab.  I’m not sure how it’s all going to take place especially with all the adventurous pursuits my family and I are looking into.  All these unknowns are quite okay for now.  I’m still very young and have plenty of time but I sure hope at some point I find a sense of decisive direction considering my future before I become an old fart.

I have recently been trying to deal with my urinary infections.  I’ve been drinking quite a bit more and doing my catheterizations more often.  It hasn’t been frustrating for me at the present time but I haven’t had anything especially time-consuming going on.  There’s been no real reason for me to leave the house for extended periods of time so I’ve been able to empty my bladder without stress.  I can see these constant catheterizations becoming a problem in the future, for example if I became a full-time student and was away from the house for extended periods of time.  I’ve been fooling around with the idea of trying to do my own catheterizations but I have to be honest, I’m pretty pessimistic.  Ideally, attending Project Walk would solve all these problems by enhancing recovery.  Recovery would let many of my day-to-day problems fade into oblivion.  This possibility could occur but unfortunately I cannot put all my hope in this possibility.  I must continue to try and live as independently as possible with whatever present function I have.  Part of doing that whole balancing act I was talking about.

That’s all for now folks.


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6 Responses to How long?

  1. Lessie says:

    My 2 cents from the perspective of age 35… 🙂
    Perhaps you feel you are standing still, treading water, or putting life on hold while you pursue recovery options…
    That’s what youth is for. A period of preparation.
    I feel strongly about sharing with you that it will NEVER be easier than NOW to pursue those options.
    Please allow yourself to explore those recovery options — guilt and worry free.
    With each passing year, exploration and change will be more and more difficult. Give yourself the freedom to pursue recovery without the pressure of reaching for a traditional, independent life.
    You may want to give yourself “x” number of years to do this — and focus on gathering the skills and equipment you need prior to pursuing college.
    Don’t shortchange your exploration b/c you feel the understandable pressure to reach a certain place in life.
    Believe me, what I’ve learned is that I’ll never reach that “certain place;” it keeps moving!
    Give yourself “x” number of years to explore recovery– and then enjoy it. Take a class to keep your mind busy, set a goal for tutoring, plan a goal for each of those years prior to starting college full time. You will never regret giving yourself the freedom to grow and learn in this way.

  2. Michelle says:

    This was such an honest and heart-felt post, Collin.  I think Lessie has given you some very solid, well-stated advice.  In my opinion, at almost twice your age, I think her comments are right on!  Many of us are not where we expected to be (or where society might expect us to be) at a certain age.  I\’m still trying to get there, myself.

  3. Jennifer says:

    I agree with the other comments I think if you rush you will regret it.  Take a little time to figure out your goals and what you want to accomplish.    I am still not sure what I want to do with my career but I am taking my time and exploring different careers before rushing into anything.  I wish I did this when I first started out. 
    Can\’t wait to hear about your next adventures!!!

  4. Ready to fly? says:

    Have you looked into external catheters ("Texas catheters")? They fit like a condom, attached by either self-adhesive or tape. They empty into a leg bag. You could continue self-cathing, and consider this new set-up for trips out of the house, especially when you have to sit through 2-4 hour college lectures. Also, because they are noninvasive, they can cut down on risks of re-infection. It\’s another option. Options are good.
    From my limited perspective, I say keep pushing. Don\’t ever be satisfied.

  5. Patricia says:

    Well, I gotta tell ya – I get startled by the time some too! But ya know what…honestly, I think the best thing that came out of my accident was bagging my perceptions of what I thought I SHOULD be doing and it freed up my mind completely and I ended up with a career path that I\’m still learning but that I love because I love it. I never would have dared to be an artist before the accident – it didn\’t seem practical – it didn\’t seem an occupation that my family took seriously – and I considered their opinions so much – even though my grandfather was an artist/photographer – anyway, what I am trying to say is that I became BOLD – I threw out the road map that had gotten crumpled and frayed by my injury and BLAZED a new trail that took balls!!! LOL! I watch people around me caught up in the parade of shoulda\’s and it makes me sad because THEY are missing what is important about life – like friends and family and people around them and love – instead they are focused on career and money and are unhappy. I guess I have learned there are no hard fast paths in life and though I felt lost and off track – I suddenly realize the beauty of being on a different road. No matter what, I learn something everyday and that makes me feel like I am living – not so much WHAT i do but HOW i do it passionately. Everything can be passionate. I even love the word passionate!!  It doesn\’t matter where you live, or what kind of education is behind us, or what kind of job is ours – what matters is well everything else! I am playing devils advocate here – I have felt as you have – I thought I would be married with kids and be a teacher by now with my masters in education. I thought I would be a million different things. I can look at it that way or I can look at it the other way… I love the road I\’m travelling even though it isn\’t anything I planned…actually nothing like it. I work everyday on aspects of my recovery and never give up…and occasionally when I get frustrated or pissed off, I have to think of the things that are good that I have learned. The way that my friendships are more honest and genuine means more to me than anything. The progress I have been able to make over the years – I also think about how others are working on something too which helps me think outside of my injury a bit and see that EVERYONE is basically in some form of stretch of their own reality is in recovery or working on things. But mostly it comes back to the way I learned more about my love for people and the way that my heart expanded. I\’m not sure I would love as clearly (for lack of a better word) as I do now if I had not had such a change in my life. To me that is better than any job I might have carried if things were different or any path I might have taken. You have so much going for you Colin, right now, in who you are. Don\’t panic about time – time is what we have. Dream big and with passion, my best, patti 

  6. Patricia says:

    well that was a freakin novel!!! i\’m tired and felt strongly for ya – i\’m so proud of ya -you\’ve given so much – you\’ve been this amazing teacher really and on an amazing path -I don\’t think you realize how much power, how much strength, how bold and strong you really are and how far you have travelled. i\’d say you\’ve gone farther than most people and you are so young!!    

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