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Tuesday, August 31, 2010

In for the Ride

Today I thought about the minor surgery that I’m having on my left knee this Thursday.  (The walker for use after surgery arrived today.)  I hope that after my surgery is over, the long term after-effects will not be worse than current symptoms.  Knees can be notoriously cranky.  I feel about the coming medical procedure much like I did when I committed to ride the Georgia Cyclone at Six Flags Over Georgia outside Atlanta in August 1998.  I can remember the unease I felt, yet the firm commitment to go ahead with it.  The promotion material listed what I was in for: Rocket through dizzying drops and turns; Take high-banked turns at nearly 50 mph; Thrill to the deafening roar of classic wooden track.  I still remember well the jarring ride—much more jarring than experienced on a steel roller coaster.  But feeling ambivalent in the face of a new experience is familiar ground.  I have felt it before committing to a lengthy course of study at a university, for example.  Obviously in such instances, some type of pain will be involved. A completely smooth ride is not guaranteed, in fact it is unlikely.  But there is faith that the prize at the end will be worth the pain and anxiety.  An important element of the experience simply is the rewarding satisfaction of knowing that I’ve been put to a test, and didn’t shirk in the face of a challenge.  (One learns as much about oneself in such trials as any external knowledge gained.)  From this point of view, the ups and downs help make the experience worthwhile--without them there would be no disquiet, but not as significant a learning opportunity either.

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