Walking on the Beach (the restoration phase)
I’m a teacher and part of my job is making sure my students receive the accommodations they’ve been granted by the state. I get a list in the beginning of each year detailing which kids get special support and in what areas. One student needs to be seated in the front of the room because she has bad eye sight, another gets to take tests with a bilingual aid because he’s still learning English, and another has a special organizational notebook that I initial daily to help her stay on track with her assignments. They’re all good students, perfectly capable of graduating high school, they just have certain challenges that have the potential of throwing them off course.
The next phase is like that. You’re coming back into normal life, but you need to be aware that you’re still not quite one hundred percent and that there are certain areas of your life with a special ability to set you back. Everything you do is just a little bit harder than the average person right now, like someone walking on the beach next to someone walking along the boardwalk. They’re both making progress, but the one in the sand has to fight a little harder for every step. Also, when you’re on the beach, you have to keep an eye out for patches of broken shells and sharp rocks.
While doing the hard work of swimming to shore, you should have discovered where your main weaknesses are. These are those patches that will slice up the soles of your feet and stunt your progress. You don’t have to avoid them entirely, just make sure that you put sandals on before you walk through them. As for me, I know I’m a raging introvert, so if I have something coming up where I have to be really social for long periods of time I realize I need to go into it hopefully with a good friend and make room for a lot of rest before and after.
This is the time that you can start living your life normally again. If you want to coach your daughter’s soccer team, go for it. Just have a back-up parent on hand in case you really need to miss a week. Go into things slowly and wisely, with safety nets, but do go into them. There is a danger for some people that they will stay in the swimming phase, always analyzing their problems and feeling like they’re not strong enough to do what they did before. The first time you return to something you used to do you may not be strong enough, but it’s through doing them that you rebuild your strength.