Lessons Learned From Bed…

Have you ever seen the movie My Left Foot? If you haven’t, you should. In the meantime, I will tell you that in this excellent movie, Daniel Day Lewis plays Christy Brown, a role which earned him a Best Actor Academy Award. Christy Brown was an Irish man with cerebral palsy who learned how to write and paint, and live a full life with just a single controllable limb – his left foot. It is a true story, and the movie is based on Christy Brown’s memoir (which I am just now realizing I should have read ages ago).

I am currently in the complete opposite scenario as Christy Brown. For the past 2.5 weeks, I have basically been down one left foot as I’m still in the non-weight bearing portion of my recovery from foot surgery. And I have to say, Christy Brown probably had way more perseverance and fortitude in his left foot than I have in the remainder of my body, because the past couple of weeks haven’t been ideal. Nonetheless, I have learned a few things about myself.

Item 1: I’m More Acerbic When I’m In Pain…

and I need to watch that. IMHO, I tend to have a pretty agreeable disposition as a general rule, but over the past couple of weeks, I’ve noticed I’m much quicker to make teasing comments that aren’t really all that nice. I’m not a fan of when other people do this, so honestly I’m pretty annoyed with myself for doing that. Neither time was intentional, it just kindof slipped out when I was dealing with something while simultaneously experiencing a fair amount of pain in my foot. I’d like to write it all off to the pain, but I don’t want to let myeslf off too easily. I don’t want to be a person that cuts others down, even in jest, so this is something that I’m going to have to watch.

Item 2: I Shouldn’t Be So Quick To Trade Brain Cells For Money

A couple of years ago, Mr PoP ran across an interesting question that is similar to his other favorite question – the 100 Boxes question.  The new question:

 Would you trade 10 IQ points for a $1 million dollars?

(I swear we wrote a he said/She Said on this topic, but I can’t find it!)

Mr PoP’s answer back then was no, but mine was probably.  Based on previous IQ tests, (and because the way the scale is normalized and how standard deviations work…), I figured I had enough points to spare that 10 wouldn’t drop me all that much in terms of percentiles.  But the $1 million would have made us immediately financially independent, and with enough brain cells remaining to still have a pretty good time.  (Or so I assumed.)

Today, it’s a different story. After spending a couple of weekends doped up on Vicodin, unable to convince my brain cells to cooperate with one another and concentrate on much of anything, I can safely report that I am unwilling to sacrifice any of them for a bit of quick cash. Even if it is $1mm and it would definitely put us well over the edge into financial independence (and then some).

Life was just way less fun with my brain in the slow lane.

Item 3: I Shouldn’t Worry About Becoming an Unproductive Blob…

if/when we decide to chuck it all in and retire early. This is a worry that’s kindof been in the back of my mind for a while now. What if (when presented with the choice) all I want to do is sit around and binge watch bad tv? Or even good tv? What’s the point of early retirement if I waste my health (physically and mentally) by just not doing ANYTHING for days on end.

Well, as it turns out, I’ve now been forced to sit around as an unproductive blob for 3 weekends in a row. Two of them were even three day weekends, normally a pleasure! But I HATED it. I was bored off my rocker. All I wanted to do was get up, move around, go outside, or go to the garage and play with the countertop that’s now been sitting there in a “mostly done” state for the better part of a month now. Ugh! Every weekend, I’ve voluntarily logged in to work and taken care of non-urgent work items just because I WAS THAT BORED.

Maybe I hadn’t stocked up on enough good reading material – but I’ve been going through books that I’ve had lying around waiting to be read, too. 3 full books and parts of 3 others. And sitting around reading all day has just not been nearly as fulfilling as I have dreamed it would be. Maybe part of that is that pain and medications sometimes made it hard to concentrate as well as I would have liked, but I think it’s more than that. I like reading, but I like MOVING even more!

So all this to say, I’m not particularly worried about turning into an unproductive blob if/when we retire. I’d be so frustrated after a couple of days that I’d figure out something to keep me busy and engaged.

I’m still not allowed to put any weight on my foot, and won’t have a good idea until Friday afternoon if I’m in for another weekend of mind-numbing boredom sitting on my tush. So rather than being snarky about it (since I’ve definitely decided that’s not the road I want to end up traveling down permanently!), I’m going to try and flip the script and see it as possibly another weekend to learn something else about myself that I hadn’t really internalized yet.  Fingers crossed!


What have you learned about yourself lately? Or when faced with a set back?

18 comments to Lessons Learned From Bed…

  • Lessons Learned From Bed… Ahh yes, this post could have gone in a lot of different directions. Naughty brain, naughty!

    While not fun, at least you learned something from the experience. We learn a lot when we live outside of comfort zones.

    When do you get back to full speed? I need to make it down there soon if I’m to have any chance of beating you in a 5K…
    Mr. 1500 recently posted..Other StuffMy Profile

  • Best wishes on a quick recovery.

    My approach to dealing with setbacks is to hunker down and just persevere. Everything works itself out over time. Sometimes this “ignoring the issue” can make the setback last longer than normal – but it saves brain cells and reduces stress.

    And I would definitely give up 10 IQ points for $1 million.
    RoseRelish recently posted..Happy 19 Month BirthdayMy Profile

    • I hear you in hunkering down – that’s pretty much what I did with my foot problem for a few years before it got unbearable. =P.

      Just curious what your reasoning is on the $1mm? I know I definitely was on your side until recently.

      • Same reason cited above: I think I can afford to give up 10 IQ points. I don’t use my brain to full potential (how sad to type!?!) and probably wouldn’t miss the IQ points. Plus, with $1 million of additional money it’s hard to see needing the lost points if something catastrophic happened and the money disappeared.
        RoseRelish recently posted..Happy 19 Month BirthdayMy Profile

        • Yeah, that was pretty much my reasoning, along with the fact that I’m not emotionally invested in being smarter than others. So the drop wouldn’t matter to me from a social or emotional status point.

  • Since I haven’t taken many days off this year, I scheduled next week off from work as a sort of self-imposed do-nothingness, and already it’s starting to fill completely up with chores. I had been looking forward to catching up on tv shows, books and bike rides in the cool October weather, but now it’s filling up with car maintenance, vet appointments, and plans to Marie Kondo-ize my house.

    Maybe I lack the unproductivity gene too, but I could’ve sworn I was great at doing nothing.
    Norm recently posted..Ridinkulous Quarterly Expenses: Q3 2016My Profile

    • I actually love those kinds of GSD staycations! But do try and reserve some fun time for yourself everyday, too! A bike ride, or just hanging out. The recharge is well deserved.

      Also, I omitted the gross foot pictures from this posy, just for you since it grossed you out so much last time!

  • This is my biggest concern as I come closer to reaching FIRE. My son is still too young for us to travel around the world too much. While my wife would like to have additional children. I feel like I get lazy if I don’t create some structure for myself. I’m glad to know I’m not the only that gets bored :)
    Mustard Seed Money recently posted..Teaching Kids About MoneyMy Profile

    • I think we’re not alone that some structure and having things to do is absolutely necessary. It’s just the pace at which I need to do them that I really look forward to changing after FIRE.

  • Jacq

    Being unemployed during the summer of 2015 was a taste of FI, and I was required to apply to 2 jobs per week. I applied to 2 or more jobs a day, plus took advantage of resume enhancing classes etc. I cooked more, got to yoga almost every day, and visited with friends and family, which all added to my happiness. That’s why I expect early FI to be a shift to work I want to do for 4-6 hours a day, just from somewhere with epic views, and a flexible schedule.
    My parents both retired early and are very busy on boards, volunteering, and visiting friends and family. They both have water views, that make your coffee just a smidge tastier, on a lazy Saturday morning. I just want to upgrade to any day mornings. 😀

    • Mr PoP is in total agreement that his coffee is tastier when he enjoys lingering over it on the weekends while sitting outside looking over the pond in our backyard and very much looks forward to when he can do that whenever he wants. Way nicer than having it in the car on the way to work!

  • It does suck to be out of commission but at least you’ve confirmed that you’ll be productive, even if you retire early.

    The richer we get, the less we’d trade things for money…which is obvious, I suppose. But the flip side is probably that people who are less well off might be willing to make tough decisions for economic reasons (skip going to the doctor, forgo college, miss out on family time to work a second job). As always, lots to be thankful for.
    Done by Forty recently posted..Your Purchases Can’t Buy You ClassMy Profile

  • Assuming you use even just a percentage of those IQ points, I’d be hard pressed to give them up. I’ve been on the crap painkillers that eat your brain and don’t dull the pain many many times, oh how I wished away that dulled-fogged brain feeling. I couldn’t bear it if losing those ten points meant going back to that level of fatigue or pain brain.

    Hope your healing continues apace. An old friend had foot surgery too and I remember it taking her an awful long while to get back to full form.
    Revanche @ A Gai Shan Life recently posted..Grief, hiding in my closetMy Profile

    • Thanks, Revanche! Healing is continuing. I think I’m about back to where I was immediately pre-surgery, which is able to get around, but not super fast, and painful enough that surgery seemed like a good idea. =P Hopefully I’ll be back to my old self in the new year, though!