That awkward stage

I took a stroll Friday, eleven days after surgery. I couldn’t walk without limping unless I kept both knees bent. This gave me a Groucho Marx gait—a slow Grouch Marx gait—that attracted the curiosity of the few people who saw me. Saturday, I walked twelve blocks, almost normally; put my crutches back in storage; and returned my borrowed wheelchair to the lodge. Sunday morning, I took a bike ride, and worked on my feet the rest of the day.

Sunday night, I biked twenty blocks to the hospital to meet Peggy when she got off work. My knee was by then swollen and unbendable, so I had to pedal with my right leg while holding my left leg out to the side. (I propelled myself by repeatedly pushing the right pedal down half a stroke and pulling it back up with my toes.) The dogs ran behind me, off leash as usual. As soon as I awakened today, I got the bike out of the garage to see if I could still ride it, and was pleased to find that I could.

I have been spending a great deal of time during my convalescence wondering what to do with the rest of my life, and deprecating myself for being unable to think of anything. The house and yard will always require work, but I have finished the big jobs, either permanently or for the foreseeable future.

I always thought I would devote myself to writing and studying if I had the time, but I’ve found during my brief indisposition that sitting for very long might not be hell, but it’s pretty near purgatory. I am also utterly pessimistic of getting published and equally loathsome of the process. Finally, I cannot very well allow myself to write and study while Peggy is earning our keep, so, for now, I am at a loss. Each part of life presents its challenges, and all of them have struck me as what my mother called that awkward stage.