November 27, 2022 •
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סבלנות (savlanut) is the Hebrew word for patience. Patience is what I’m told I need to have as I work my way to being fully recovered, able to write and make phone calls and answer emails, up for being fully present with my kids, running as many miles as I wish without feeling wrecked the next day (I ran two miles for the first time since my concussion yesterday, was great, and I’m indeed feeling wrecked this morning), enjoying a nice pour of single malt peaty scotch without awful headache consequences, not relying on the kindness and generosity of my family, friends, colleagues, and community members as I work my way to healing.The word סבלנות is built from the root ס-ב-ל, which conjugated in its simplest verb form לסובל (l’soveil) means to suffer.

The hardest thing for me right now is not the limitations from headaches and fatigue; it is asking for help and support, accepting help and support, and understanding that I just can’t be as present and useful to others as I would like to be. I imagine that many of those reading this will say, of course, it’s ok, we’re happy to be here for you, and take the time you need. This is what everyone is telling me, and I feel so very grateful that I have so many people in every sphere of my life telling me this. And yet, I just can’t sit with it. I need to get up, back to working fully, being able.

The good news is that I’m seeing gradual improvements. My days are having more good and ok moments than before, and I’m gradually finding myself able to do more. The key here is being patient, not pushing too hard, and letting time and rest do their jobs.

Tim Ferriss often asks guests the following question on his podcast:

“If you had a billboard… to get any message, word, image out to billions of people… what might you put on that billboard?”

Actor and fellow podcaster Dax Shepard offered this answer:

“‘Be as kind and forgiving to yourself as you are to the people you love.’ I’m pretty … brutal to myself. And I’ll listen to a guy in a meeting share the exact same thing I just did, and I’m like, ‘Oh, that poor guy. It’s hard. Of course that happened.’”

I need this billboard. I need to see it every day because I need this reminder. I should be patient and appreciate the gifts of time and support I’m regularly receiving. I should focus on these instead of harping on everything I’m not doing, everything I can’t do, or ought not do because the ramification will be a setback. I need to take that סובל and simply experience it as סבלנות—patience, because this is the best way for me to get through this and get back to being fully able.

On a positive note, I’m experiencing right now a reward for patience— being able to work on this for more than 30 minutes without a pounding headache at the end. Hurrah.

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