S.O.P. is my short version of Sense of Purpose. Now that the new year is here, and I am slowly getting better physically, I am once again thinking of it. Yesterday a friend told me that it took an entire year for her to be able to walk again without pain. So, that is out as a S.O.P. I am not going to devote this year to just walking without pain. That will have to be a sub S.O.P. When I was in so much pain I didn't worry about such foolishness as a S.O.P. Pain trumps all else. It is all consuming.
It makes me think again about other painful experiences in my life. I had my appendix out when I was fifteen. I remember gazing out the hospital window and vowing to myself that if I could just go outside and not be in any more pain I would be happy forever. Unfortunately, pain has a way of quickly being forgotten. Or maybe that is fortunate. Can you imagine women remembering the pain of childbirth? If we did, we probably wouldn't have over one child each.
I find myself wondering--What is the purpose of pain? After almost three months of it being my constant companion, I question what lessons it has taught. Have I learned anything from this isolation and pain? Maybe only time will tell. It made me appreciate being able to get out of that rolling chair and walk around, even though each step is still painful. At least I can get around some. I am still stuck in my yard most of the time. I know there are many things to do here. I just wrote an article about all the things to do here. Yet, I am not interested in any of them. I was never a joiner. I have always been an outsider. So, clubs and classes don't interest me.
What is left? Going out to eat. Well, that gets old after awhile. I haven't been to the lake since my accident. I am not yet ready to return to the scene of all that pain. I can't take Chico for long walks and that was my primary fun activity before I fell into the lake and broke my ankle.
I have learned that a few people I had thought of as my friends were just acquaintances, only there when I could go out and do interesting things with them. And also, many others have become dear friends. I don't know what I would have done without their help.
But back to this S.O.P. problem. I think we all have to struggle with that issue and especially when the first of the year rolls around. It is a time to step back from our lives and question where we are going and what we want out of them. What do we have to give to the world? What do we need in order to be happy and fulfilled? No one can hand the answers to us because no one else knows our real selves. Even our parents and children cannot enter into our private lives and know what we need. It is hard enough just to enter that space ourselves. It is too easy to be distracted with the outside world and not think about the internal self. But if we don't, then we are likely to suffer from depression, addictions and a constant sense of emptiness. Nothing in the outside world can take the place of self reflection... Okay, I have said enough now. I wish everyone a Happy New Year and that all your hopes and dreams will be fulfilled. But mostly, I wish that you KNOW your real hopes and dreams and not get sidetracked by the unimportant distractions the world has to offer.
Maybe that is what I have learned all these days of being isolated, not to be led astray by the fleeting pleasures of the world but to know what is really important to me. I still don't have a clear S.O.P. But I am aware that I need to develop one.