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Intention, Outcome, Irony, Reactions – When Things Go Awry

Alright, party people. I’ve got a bit of a story for you. First though, I must do the obligatory thing and complain about the weather:

snowy spring chicago lakeshore east

Seriously, WTF Chicago? IT IS SPRING DAMMIT.

winter is drunk

Applied last year, applies this year.

Right. 

Now, let me begin by jogging your memory:

I wrote a post last year concerning intention vs. outcome. Well, Sunday night was definitely a test of that notion. Also an illustration of the definition of irony. And I’m talking irony in the old-school, English class way. Not Alanis.

dont know what word means inigo meme irony

I mentioned yesterday that I had to skip out on dinner with Lauren, Erin, and Bethany because Alex was having a not great day. And that things started looking up until, well, they didn’t. Let me explain.

story time

As many of you know from reading this blog, Alex is one of the most consistent, positive, and even-keeled people I know. And he doesn’t even need medication to be that way! It is one of reasons that he is such a consistently incredible doctor–he recharges every night and, though he might get tired, he hangs solid. It is also a huge reason that we are married–he can put up with my hot/cold, my hormone, health, and mental abnormality/imbalances, and he is my absolute rock in sickness and in health. I often say that “the boy is unbreakable.” And he truly is thus, to a limit. Every now and then, however, he reaches his limit. 

Yesterday was one of those days. 

Some things on his mind:

  • Figuring out our future
  • The fact that he has no time to lift (weights)
  • The fact that he can’t run or play basketball (even if he wanted to) because of his knee, which is still bothering him, though can at least jog across the street.
  • The fact that we never get to spend time together, and when we do, he is exhausted.
  • Dealing with serious cases all the time. It is something that he is very good at, but it is still draining. 
  • UVA Basketball. It is kind of his shining light during the day. 

And he’s just kind of exhausted. So Saturday night, he didn’t sleep well and had another day where he didn’t get to workout (because he got home late). Then Sunday, he is exhausted, gets to work, and everything just starts going south–with patients, with families, with people wanting to leave, people wanting his attention, and then UVA loses and looks terrible the whole time, and it just keeps on going downnnn. And he gets a headache to boot, making his likelihood of working out or even going for a walk with me slim.

So I randomly had the brilliant idea to GO BOWLING. Like, let’s go!! Stand up, put on your real clothes, we aren’t thinking we are going. Right now. Let’s go. I called, they had lanes, we are going. 

So I got him up and going, we get to the alley (the new one!), we get our lane, we get a drink and an app, we bowl TERRIBLY (but are totally ok with it), and then we decide that we have to try one last game, right? We can’t end like that! So he buys another game, we buy dinner, he bowls a strike, I bowl whatever, and then he goes to bowl another frame….

And hears a pop in his bicep. I’m not making this up. My husband, who can curl more than any human being ever should, pulls/tears his bicep throwing a bowling ball. 

And we still have to wait on our food. 

alex dancing bonfire 2009

seriously big muscles.

So now, not only does he not have much time to life, he can’t lift (oh, and did I mention that he was going to do arms today?), and who knows for how long, and even how long it will be before he can do things like brush his teeth without pain. To clarify–it is the part of the bicep that helps you supinate, or turn you hand over, and doesn’t seem to hurt yet when he lifts straight up and down.

Oh, and he didn’t get to workout, cherry on top.

And I feel terrible, of course. Yes, I know that I had nothing really to do with it, and that we decided together to bowl another game.  So, for all of you intention vs outcome people out there–which is better? 

Logic can win out here–Alex is strong, but he isn’t doing as many functional or explosive movements that would have protected him. He could have stretched out things better. The moon could have been in retrograde, who knows! So many signs. So many reasons not to do this, to do that. To sit and wait and let it be.

To avoid the outcome that you don’t want. To live, maybe not in fear, but in shelter. There are times in life when you are going to be filled with coulda shoulda woulda’s. Sometimes? Life is just filled with freak accidents. 

An innocent sunburn from a time when you didn’t have the chance to apply sunblock before helping a friend may one day lead to a melanoma that has to be removed.  But what would be better–to not help the friend or to have the mole removed later? 

I think what we have to remember in life is this (and please bear with me, I am still thinking this through): What is important in life is the intention and the manner in which you pursue and then react to the outcome. In my experience, life and the true test of character lies in your reactions. 

And right now, my poor boy is being tested. So send a little love his way, but tell me what you think about this:

How do you measure the tension between intention and outcome when irony comes into play?

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