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This post is part of my 2022 Word Project. You can read what that’s about here.

Tuesday, February 1, 2022

I went to the doctor today. My hip has been bothering me, like it woke up when I turned 50 and said, “Oh, you’re old now, let’s do this!”

The thing about it, is that it feels 99% fine all day. The one thing, though, that I absolutely cannot do, is sleep on my side. Which of course is how I sleep, except for when I’m not sleeping, which is quite often lately.

As of the past few months it has been making a clicking noise with every step so I started to suspect it was really mad about the whole “more birthdays past 50” thing, and decided to see a doctor. Since I am a perfectly rational and calm human, I decided that either my bones were crumbling or I needed a new hip, or I was going to die.

I am not a doctor person. I don’t want to go, don’t want to see one, don’t want to get poked and prodded and sent for more tests. Ralph typically will nag me to go, and I will typically make up reasons not to, and eventually he will get silent on the matter which is how I know it’s time to make an appointment.

So there I was today, at the doctor. Again.

A couple months ago I was dying from a sore throat. Before that, I was dying of heart failure.

I’m not a hypochondriac, I swear. I’m just over 50, where receptionists at doctors’ offices are so pleased that you figured out how to register for your appointment online that they coo at you like you’re a particularly adorable Pomeranian.

After 50, suddenly everything feels like a crisis.

But the hip thing, that was good old-fashioned pain, so once again into the breech.

Going to the doctor this morning was not conducive to thinking of a word, except, perhaps, ugh.

With two hours siphoned off my day I had to double-time it to get anything done. Again.

I pondered a word somewhere in between working on a sales page for a client and reheating quiche for lunch. Again.

The doctor, he told me the problem is bursitis. Once again, I’m not dying.

I still needed a word.

The word was stumped. Plain drained. The word was suckeddryofeverybitofcreativityinmybody.

My brain felt like a half eaten banana that’s been sitting on the table all day.

I already used the word new for January, but the thing that kept coming to mind is that it’s a new month. Another chance to start again. A fresh beginning, of the sort that I like.

I pondered words similar to new.

Do-over. I get to hyphenate. we’ve already established that.

Again. As in, do it again. Another month again. February again.

I’m still here, again. I started another page in my habit journal. Again. I tried to keep my day on track. Again.

I went to the doctor. Again.

It started to grow on me.

Not like it’s something I really needed to reflect on, it just represents more and more and more of the same. Again. But I decided that if I used enough words to describe it, I would eventually think of something positive to say about it.

The sun is shining again.

I was going to eat quiche again for lunch, which isn’t a bad thing.

Given how many times it manifested in my thoughts, it’s the word I ultimately landed on, in part because it’s just as complex and thought-provoking as one of my earlier words: ok.

It can mean a lot of things, or most anything, depending on how you use it and the tone of voice you say it in.

Again can imply something repetitively dull, like do we have to watch Perry Mason again?

Or something positively joyful, like can we go pet the kangaroos again?

It can be an encouragement, as in, try it again.

Or an admonishment, as in don’t do that again.

Sandwiches again?

Quiche again!

Tonight I poured myself a glass of wine again. Then after the third time I almost knocked it over, I switched to a tumbler of wine instead, so as not to break a glass again.

And here I am again, pondering words and using words to ponder them. But I like it.

In the end it always goes back to mindset. Have a negative mindset again? Get a negative word. Choose a different narrative? Think again.

Life is confounding like that but for me it’s one of the most exciting parts. The idea that you can think of a single word and make it mean just about anything you want. I guess that’s why I started this project. To think and explore and stretch and not always to win or succeed or be happy about it, but always to come back and do it again.

Yes, it’s February again. And since the other option is not to have any more Februarys, again is a good thing. It may have been a stressful morning again, and I may have eaten half a bag of animal crackers again, but I also get to have another day again tomorrow.

Work, again? Yes.

Try again? Yes!

Break a glass again? Altogether likely, but I will have someone to clean up after me again.

And even though my word has never been synchronous, the universe has done it again anyway. No sooner had I begun to contemplate the again??? of life, than a friend of mine texted this to me.

Which once again proves that I (and we) are not alone. Whether it’s a day of again?? or again!! It’s a decision we get to make again every day.

Except tomorrow I promise not to eat as many animal crackers again, or I will have to buy tent-pants again and that will make me angry again. Instead I’ll do yoga again and come back here to percolate on whatever feels new and shiny again.

And that’s the end again. For now.

Photo: me hanging out with kangaroos at the Nashville Zoo this past birthday.