Victoria Noe

Award-winning Author, Speaker, Activist

I Just Had to Let It Go

Jan 20, 2021 by Victoria Noe, in Kathleen Pooler
I'm just sitting here watching the wheels go round and round
I really love to watch them roll
No longer riding on the merry-go-round
I just had to let it go

“Watching the Wheels” - John Lennon and Yoko Ono

For some reason, this lyric popped into my head. Actually, the reason is not a mystery.

On Dec. 6, I suffered a mild concussion, my second. I have the benefit of prior experience, and this time I have terrific doctors who took my injury seriously. Some of the after-effects have been minimal. A couple have been...not minimal.

All the great plans I was working on for this year came to a necessary halt. Instead of several Zoom calls and webinars every week, I’ve only been on one while I recover (Christmas call with our daughter). My vision is okay, but my brain can’t concentrate for long with so much auditory and visual stimulation. 

That means I’ve missed a lot: live performances, meetings, training, an online course. Even phone calls can be problematic if they go longer than 30 minutes, because at some point my brain just decides it’s done. The new wrinkle this time is ongoing motion sickness: in the car or just moving around. As I told one of my doctors, “I’ve had good buzzes, but this is not one of them.”

I don’t like this one damn bit. 

As a society, we are constantly told to keep pushing - ‘feel the burn’. That you have to work 80 hours a week and go to the gym every day and learn a new language and volunteer, etc. Because if you don’t, you can’t possibly succeed. The pandemic has slowed a lot of that down, but has not eliminated the stress many people feel. In fact, a lot of people have more responsibility piled on them now, thanks to working and schooling from home.

I’ve worked from home most of my adult life, so the past ten months have not been a huge change in that regard. But since my concussion, I can’t do most of the things I want to do, things that are staring me in the face every minute of the day: books to read and review, pitches to send out, essays to submit, marketing ideas to consider, skills to upgrade. I’m missing deadlines, something that never fails to upset me. And though I know full well that my brain is not yet fully healed, it doesn’t stop me from being frustrated. 

As I said in my last blog post, 2020 taught me to be flexible. That hasn’t changed. So if I can’t do actual research right now, I can gather articles and sources to read later. If I can’t interview anyone now, I can reach out for permission to talk at a later date. If I can’t do the assignments in my writer accountability group, I can print them out to do when I’m able. All that helps. A little.

“Progress, not perfection” is the response I hear if I whine to my friend, author Kathy Pooler. No matter what challenge she faces - and there have been many - she finds a way to move forward. They might be baby steps; they might simply be tentative plans. But she keeps at it. So I always know I can count on her to get me back on track. I hope I do the same for her.

It’s hard to measure progress these days, isn’t it? Especially when you feel like everything you want to do is on hold. But it’s possible.

My neurologist told me last month that I had to forgive myself for having a stupid accident. I didn’t realize how much I needed to hear that, but I was able to let go of that guilt. I’m letting go of the timetable I set in November. I’m letting go of obsessing about what I can’t do, and making sure I accomplish something - no matter how small - every day. It must have helped: yesterday he gave me the green light to read and write more. 

There may be something you can’t do right now, something big, something important. But you can work towards it, one step at a time. 

Progress, not perfection.