Treading Lightly
Treading Lightly

What I Read This Month: February Books

My February books kept me afloat this month. They gave me a break from my own chaotic, self-doubting mind. The books I read this month were either full of much needed advice and encouragement or they were the perfect escape from my overwhelm.

February was my busiest month ever as a freelancer. I worked more hours than I have at any job in years. I’m not saying this to complain, despite the fact that most of this month was downright miserable, or do a weird ‘I’m so busy’ brag. But rather, I’m trying to explain just how much these books meant to me.

The fact that I read at all this month is something worth celebrating. There were days where my brain had turned to mush and my eyes were deep in the throws of revolt. But without fail I started nearly every morning with at least 15 minutes of reading. Those 15-30 minutes were often the best part of my day.

Despite the tears after going to bed and the ice-cream-after-lunch days and the downright shocking amount of work I powered through, I somehow managed to read five books this month. In doing so I also realized that my dream job might actually be getting paid to read engaging books all day. If you’ve figured out a way to make that a reality, please let me know.

In the meantime, prepare yourself for some long, rambling thoughts on this month’s books.

February Books

What I Read This Month: February Books

Relativity

This fiction was straight nourishment for the heart. I loved the way that 12-year-old Ethan saw the world (both literally and figuratively). The switching perspectives/ narrators kept me hooked and made it even easier to root for them all, even when I felt conflicted about it. Be prepared to have a greater appreciation for physics and a deep desire to watch Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey with Neil deGrasse Tyson after reading this one.

 

Voices in the Ocean

For as long as I can remember I have always loved to be in and around water. I used to dream about being an oceanographer (didn’t realize it was mostly about staring at maps on computers) or a marine biologist until the realities of the math/chemistry required and the amount of time I would spend living in a lab set in.

This book was for the 10-year-old marine biologist inside of me. Voices dives into the complex world of dolphins and our fascination with them. It both filled me with a sense of appreciation and awe for our oceans and the incredible animals that live in them, and it also made me feel depressed and helpless about the current state of our oceans and the horrific things we do to their inhabitants.

I loved Susan Casey’s The Wave (and have made just about everyone I know read it). This book didn’t quite live up to my expectations, but I still enjoyed it. Lovers of The Cove and Blackfish will likely enjoy it.

 

Tools of Titans

Another massive tome from Tim Ferriss, Tools of Titans lays out the best lessons, advice, and habits from the world-renowned guests on The Tim Ferriss Show. I read this one in little chunks throughout the month, and I feel like it’s one that might be worthwhile in going back to. It’s packed with great information (and things that will never apply to my life).

While I recommend picking it up, I will say that if you are a regular listener to the podcast it can feel repetitive (you’ve already heard the interviews, and much of it is direct quotes from guests). It’s also, purposely, all over the place. Advice directly conflicts, people disagree on how to get to the same place, and a lot of it may not be helpful at all.

I think I should also say that I’ve generally been cooling on Ferriss lately. I’m not interested in taking adaptogens or biohacking my body, and he seems to be going further and further into quick fixes and magic pills. A lot of the things that excited him the most in this book just didn’t click with my lifestyle or interests.

 

A Man Called Ove

Oh man, I loved A Man Called Ove. It caught my eye on the shelf at the library, and despite no time and lots of other books in my arms, I just couldn’t help myself.

I’m so glad I picked it up. This was my favorite book of the year so far.

This grump felt like an alternate-reality version of me. I cracked up constantly, and the dark humor was top-notch for me. The curmudgeon inside of me felt perfectly at home inside the pages. This book was the highlight of the month. It’s obvious why A Man Called Ove a best seller in so many countries.

 

Scratch

I have yet to learn that books about writing, especially how to make a living at it, are never uplifting. I have not once finished a book about writing and thought, ‘yes, of course I can do this and it will obviously be easy!’

Scratch was real. Cheryl Strayed exposed the debt that was quickly sinking her and her husband before Wild came out. Sarah Smarsh showed that not being able to afford a haircut means that a best-selling novel is right around the corner (or something not even close to that but that’s the version I need right now). Austin Kleon turned ‘selling out’ on its head and made me regret being terrible at visual arts.

The writers in this book talked straight to the voices in my head that have the same doubts, fears, and ambitions. They constantly made me face the reality of what I’m trying to do (not great timing on that one), and also showed me that they all started here too: broke, tentative, unsure, and desperate for someone, anyone, to help them figure out how to make this work.

While the book is great for anyone who wants to know what their favorite writer’s life is really like and what writing looks like behind the scenes, it’s written for aspiring fiction writers. I still found it helpful for non-fiction, especially the general commiseration about the lack of pay across writing and the terror of setting out on your own.

What I read this month: January Books

Last year’s books were all so good that I was feeling a little uninterested in reading for parts of this month. I didn’t want to be dissapointed. (There isn’t anything quite like following an amazing book with a lackluster read. It feels like such a letdown.)

I shouldn’t have worried. While not every book blew my mind this month, I have regained my insatiable hunger for books. Despite not feeling it for a while I still ended up reading eight books this month. Not too bad.

What I Read In January

January Books

No Baggage

I’m all for packing light, but I never considered taking no bags at all. No Baggage is the story of a woman’s (real) travels through eight countries over three weeks. More than the story of her trip, I appreciated her openness about her struggles with depression in the years before her trip and what it was like to finally make it out of that. Also, their extremely light travel made me think hard about what I will pack for my next trip. (Spoiler, I’m definitely still going to travel with layers and tooth paste, even if it means I need a bag. Sorry, Clara and Jeff.)

 

The 4-Hour Body

Tim Ferriss recommends just reading the 150 pages that interest you the most in his massive book. Well I hate being told how to read a book. I read the whole damn thing, index and appendix included. So there, Mr. Ferriss.

I doubt I’m going to “lose 20 pounds in 30 days without exercise,” “increase fat-loss 300 percent with a few bags of ice,” or gain “34 pounds of muscle in 28 days without steroids.” But I didn’t read it for those things anyways.

Things I didn’t like about The 4-Hour Body:

  • It often feels gimmicky and too good to be true
  • It’s based on self-experimentation and the experiences of a select few people
  • The advice is often contradictory depending on what outcome you are going for (losing weight vs gaining muscle vs just being a stronger, better athlete).
  • So many supplements and unnatural substances!

Things I liked:

  • I really appreciate Tim’s self-experimentation beliefs and his encouragement to find your own answers. It’s refreshing to have someone remind you that you know your body best and you are your best hope of figuring out what works for you.
  • His chapter on injury prevention and finding imbalances was right up my ally.
  • The book was a nice reminder to find your minimum effective dose, but things often felt too reductionist. Sure, maybe I could increase my strength or muscle mass in less than 2-hours a week, but that completely leaves out the other benefits of exercise like enjoyment and stress relief.

Bottom line? Tim was probably right about only reading the parts that you are the most interested in.

 

Future Sex

I picked up this book after hearing Emily Witt talk about writing it on the Longform podcast. I expected an open-minded, curious exploration of the ways that people seek out and experience sex. And it was sort of that, but it was also a snaking journey of her realization that she may never have the life she thought she wanted.

Future Sex left me feeling depressed and like her searching was still unresolved.

 

Come as You Are

Through sheer fate of the library request system, this month turned into a bit of an exploration of female sexuality. Overall Come As You Are was interesting, but not life changing. It was definitely geared toward women who were experiencing particular problems or frustrations. It was relatively interesting, and I certainly learned things, but I don’t think this is one I will be widely recommending to my friends.

 

Designing Your Life

Designing Your Life left me with mixed feelings. I expected to feel uplifted and ready to create the life I want. Instead they (unintentionally) destroyed my fall back plan and added a lot of items to my to do list.

Overall, I really recommend it. They lay out clear steps toward creating a life that will leave you fulfilled and happy. Just be ready to do a lot of work and not have them hand you any easy answers.

 

Carry On

So good. If you can set aside Harry Potter and try to forget about how magic works in that world, Carry On will suck you in. I never read fantasy, despite reading it as a child. I only picked this up because I can’t get enough of Rainbow Rowell, and it was the story the main character in Fangirl writes fanfiction about. Even the boy, a master fantasy/sci-fi reader, enjoyed it.

 

Homegoing

This was a rough way to start the year. I finished Homegoing on New Year’s Day, but it stuck with me long after that. No part of this book is easy. I had to take breaks and come back to it when I was ready to absorb more. People do horrible things to each other, and it’s a lot to take.

The writing is beautiful. I love the structure of the book as it follows the decedents of two half-sisters. You hear from so many people, but the story feels like one. Read it, but be kind to yourself and know when you need some space.

 

Female Chauvinist Pigs

In an effort to read some of the books that I added to my to-read list in 2012 (or before…), I picked this up before the holidays. Originally published in 2006, Female Chauvinist Pigs felt almost nostalgically dated and also a little too relevant. It’s a bit too outdated to be a really important read, but in a way it felt like a precursor to Girls and Sex.

4 Months Post Peroneal Tendon Surgery

Life is creeping back toward normal, and I couldn’t be happier about it. Four months post peroneal tendon surgery I’m sleeping without mummifying my leg. I am just starting to get back into squatting again. I got the go-ahead to finally leave the brace behind for daily life. I’m physically moving on.

In the day to day it’s hard to see the progress I’ve made. And it’s even more difficult when my pain and mobility fluctuate wildly. Some days are great, others feel like I’ve lost weeks of progress overnight.

But I’m slowly slipping toward normal and my obsession about my progress is going with it.

I was wrong.

My expectations about my recovery were woefully incorrect. I was under the impression that I would be back to where I was before surgery after three months. At four, I’m still not there. But I’m also not worrying about it anymore.

My outlook on my recovery post peroneal tendon surgery is heavily skewed by the nine months I spent desperate to get better before anyone realized I needed more than physical therapy could offer. I feel like this has been dragging on forever, that I will never actually get better. But when I can set all of that aside, it’s clearly not true. I’m making strides, I’m inching forward and the steps backward are much less frequent.

Healing is slow. Connective tissue like tendons is particularly sluggish. I’m doing what I can, and I’m not worrying about the rest.

I’ve stopped comparing myself to Lauren Fisher, the CrossFit athlete who had her surgery within days of mine and has shot past me. We aren’t the same person, we have different goals, and frankly, it just doesn’t matter.

2017 is my year.

I’m so excited to start the new year feeling a bit more like my old self. I can throw on my sneakers and head out the door (for a walk, but still). I am working on my leg strength and aggressively building my balance. When it stops raining I can ride my bike outside instead of being cooped up in the gym. My physical therapist has given me a great deal of space to try things out on my own and decide what feels right for my body right now.

I don’t want to be too bold, but I have a feeling I’ll be running in the next month. I’ve already done some really short jogs on the Alter-G treadmill at 80 percent of my bodyweight. If things keep moving like they have been I think I’ll see pavement soon.

Yoga has brought back my sanity (and some of my flexibility). I’ve left each class with a huge sense of relief and space in my body.

My body is forever changed, and it still hasn’t quite figured out what that’s going to be like, but I’m starting to get a hang of the way things are now.

 

In Case You Missed It:

I thought I could still play basketball
One Month Later
Two
Three
Four
Five
Six
Eight
Nine
10 months and surgery
11 Months + Surgery
What I learned from a year of being injured
Three months post peroneal tendon surgery

How I use a planner to stay organized

I’ve tried a few different techniques to stay organized and productive, but by far writing things down by hand in a planner is best for me. It helps me to break down big tasks into smaller to dos over a few days. I can visually see all of the things I need to get done and feel like I have a grasp over them all. Plus, you just can’t beat the feeling of physically crossing something off your list.

How to Use a Planner

After at least 15 years of using a planner, I finally have a system that works for me. What started as a place to keep track of my homework has morphed into how I organize my entire life. I use my planner to keep track of my work tasks, daily errands and chores, habits, and personal goals.

How to Use a Planner

How to Use a Planner

 

1. Plan Big Three

Each day I set aside my main three (or fewer) tasks for the day. These are my main priorities that need to be done before I can call it a day. If I only do these three tasks, my day is a success. My last work task for the day is writing out what needs to be done the next day.

 

2. To Do List

Laundry, quick emails, and other lower priority tasks go to the side of my big three. In theory I should do my big three before diving into these quick to dos, but in general I tend to sprinkle them in between.

 

How to Use a Planner – Blogging Editorial Calendar

 

3. Monthly Editorial Calendar

For years I would hand draw a calendar for my blog in a lined notebook. It was tedious and didn’t make it easy for me to actually sit down and plan out my posts for the month. Now all of my tasks are in one place, and I can quickly flip to the front of my planner to see what I have coming up for the blog.

 

4. Deadlines and Dates

Meetings, appointments, and deadlines all have a home (and a symbol) in my weekly planner. While I also have all of these in a digital calendar, I find it really helpful to have it written out. I can easily take them into consideration when I’m planning my tasks and priorities.

 

How to Use a Planner Habit Tracking

 

5. Habit Tracking

There are so many great ways to track habits. But I find I won’t actually mark it as complete (or do it at all) if my tracker isn’t front and center. Each week I hand draw my own habit tracker right into the weekly spread. Lately I’ve been tracking habits related to my ankle physical therapy including how often I contrast bath, do scar tissue massage, eat or drink foods high in anti-inflammatories, and other ankle-related tasks.

This is a great way to track multiple habits, but there are so many ways you could do it. You could highlight the days you completed your main habit (or New Year’s resolution), put a mark on each day, have a symbol you draw on the day when you’re done, or create a little logbook style like I have.

 

6. Sketch It Out

In college I got into the habit of planning out my priorities and to dos for an entire week at a time. While this was helpful for me to plan out when I needed to get started on things and to space out my workload, it was terrible for actually getting it done. If I didn’t finish something it caused catastrophe.

After years spent working off of yesterday’s (or last week’s) to do list, I finally learned how to frame out my big projects and take it a day at a time. These days I will take a big project and break it down into individual tasks that have to get done. I then add them to do my to do list one day at a time so I have room to move them from one day to another if things aren’t chugging along perfectly.

This technique is key for my freelance writing assignments. I will have anywhere from 5-10 articles due in a month. At the start of the month I sit down and roughly sketch out when I will do each step for each article so I don’t get overwhelmed or miss a deadline.

Because this process is messy and constantly shifting, I use a piece of scratch paper so I can cross things off as I go and rewrite them as necessary. My rough frame lives in the back pocket of my planner, but you can also include it in the notes section. Or you know, use a pencil.

 

7. Move It Forward

Any main priority tasks that don’t get completed are automatically the top priority for the next day. Sometimes I just don’t realize how long a task will take me and my top three for the day are really more than I can tackle. Instead of feeling like a failure for not getting it all done, I just move it forward to the next day.

There are exceptions to this rule. I will always meet hard deadlines. Typically I have it all planned out so I’m not doing anything last-minute, but things happen.

 

8. Set Yourself Up for Success

Like most people, I could easily write out 20 things that I want to get done each day, but that’s never going to happen. I am strict with only having three top tasks for the day. No matter how many times I try it, four isn’t realistic. I just can’t get it all done.

There are days where three is way too many as well. Know what your priority will take (time, effort, energy, focus, someone else’s time, etc.) and plan accordingly. If something is going to take you six hours to complete, don’t add two more priorities to the list under it. You’ve already filled up your day with your main task.

 

How to Use a Planner – Goals and Intentions

 

9. Set Goals or Intentions

I put my goals for the week front and center so they are always on my mind. Sometimes these goals are big projects I want to tackle that week or my general focus for the week (like reflection, goal planning, inspiration gathering). I don’t always have an explicit goal for each week outside of just getting my normal tasks done. On those weeks I just leave the space blank.

 

Planner

The planner I use isn’t special. I searched for hours (I wish I was exaggerating) for a sustainable, ethical notebook that did everything I wanted, but I ultimately came up short. I’m currently using Moleskin’s 18 month, weekly planner. In the past I used a handmade, 100 percent recycled paper planner from Etsy.

 

Related:

I haven’t tried bullet journaling, but I am fully intrigued by it. I mean look at these examples! The colors and perfect penmanship make me happy. If only I knew how to draw (and could write legibly).

How to Get It All Done

December Reads

December was a lighter reading month for me. I spent a great deal of time baking cookies, visiting with friends and family, and indulging in a bit of TV. That said, this month was all about the ladies – all of these books were written by women, about women.

December Reads

December Reads 2016

What’s Not Yours Is Not Yours

This book felt like required reading in high school, only no one ever explained to me what it meant. I just couldn’t figure out what was going on, and the aspects of fantasy felt jarring. Most of the stories left me extremely confused and disinterested in starting the next. Just not for me.

 

Feminist Fight Club

This book earned its place on my list of the best books I read in 2016.

 

The Wangs Vs. The World

After seeing this book just about everywhere, I decided to finally see what the fuss was about. I wasn’t overly impressed, but it was an entertaining read. The characters frustrated me and the story took odd turns. Overall it’s an eh for me.

 

Where She Went

A sequel to If I Stay, this book is junk food for the brain. I didn’t learn anything or have any insightful revelations. But I did sit down and finish it in a few hours on a lazy day after Christmas. Can’t complain.

 

Men Explain Things to Me

Expectation: A hilarious compilation of men talking down to the author and unnecessarily explaining things. Reality: Rebecca Solnit’s collection of essays covered everything from the pillage of the global South and its ties to how women are treated to war to why we should have hope for the future. The incredibly short book was thought-provoking and connected a lot of important dots for me.

Best Fiction and Nonfiction Books of 2016

I read 70 books this year – that’s more than I have read since I started tracking. It’s more than twice as much as my first Goodread’s Reading Challenge goal in 2014.

This year was the year of nonfiction for me. A whopping 67 percent-47 books-were nonfiction. In years past the opposite has been true, but I wouldn’t change anything. I learned so much and really fell in love with the power of nonfiction.

The books below were some of my favorites from this year, although not all of them were published in 2016. I got a bit carried away with new releases and mostly forgot to pick up books from higher up on my list, but there are a few on the list that have been out for years.

 

Best Fiction and Nonfiction Books of 2016

Top 12 Nonfiction Books of 2016

Since I clearly went for nonfiction over and over this year, it seemed appropriate to start with this list. It contains some of my favorite books from the year. Please note that these are in no particular order – it seems cruel to rank the books that I spent so much time with and that taught me so many different things.

 

Best Fiction and Non-fiction Books of 2016

 

The 4-Hour Workweek 

Tim Ferriss’ debut book is one of the few books that still impact my behavior today. A lot of the rules I have set for technology and my morning routine have come from The 4-Hour Workweek. I don’t have plans to start a product-focused business or take six months off for a mini-retirement, but his principles have still proven to be powerful tools for me.

 

Meanwhile In San Francisco

Wendy MacNaughton’s illustrations are beautiful. They make you feel like you are there with her. Her insistence on talking to everyday people around the city was inspiring to me. It’s a bit like Humans of New York, but illustrated and about San Francisco.

 

Between the World and Me

I think my original review said it best: “Ta-Nehisi Coates is incredible. His book is gut wrenching, especially in light of the recent shootings and violence.

“I’m a small white woman, and I will never truly know what it’s like to be anything but. Coates’ experience and his criticism of The Dream hit me hard. I know what it’s like to always be on guard, to always be afraid, but I have always had privilege to shield me from the worst. This book is as good as everyone says it is. Read it.”

This book made me re-examine my experience and realize that I don’t spend enough time engaging with work (art, music, books, news articles) from people of color. Ta-Nehisi Coates is the reason many of the books I read this year ended up on my list at all. I also think now might be a great time to re-read it. (PS. You should read his recent article on President Obama while you’re at it.)

 

Best Fiction and Nonfiction Books of 2016

 

We Should All Be Feminists

Yes, we should.

 

Creative Confidence

This book lit a fire under me and got me really thinking about how I like to create and what is/was holding me back. “A must read! Especially if you are creative or you think you aren’t. Loved it,” according to me from June.

 

Skin Cleanse

This is another one that has changed my day to day life. I still follow the morning skin routine and diet changes that I started when I first read the book. Although I have to admit that December has been awash in sugar. (So many delicious homemade cookies.)

 

Best Fiction and Nonfiction Books of 2016

 

Shrill

I read a lot of books this year from comedians and culture writers, but Lindy West’s was one of the best. She can easily switch from talking about serious, important topics to telling a hilarious story about her past.

 

Lab Girl

Lab Girl is one of the highlights of my reading this year. This book captivated me and let me see a glimpse of what it would have been like if I had gone into science instead. It was like a taste of an alternate reality for me. Plus, I now have a ton of random facts about trees stored away.

 

Girls and Sex 

Another one I haven’t stopped talking about. This book confronts the way that we teach girls about sex, sexuality, and intimacy through interviews with girls in high school and college. I had many revelations, and I finished the book feeling incredibly thankful for the way I was raised (and the fact that Snapchat and Instagram weren’t a thing when I was in high school).

 

Best Fiction and Nonfiction Books of 2016

 

Curated Closet

A practical guide to actually liking everything in your closet and knowing what your style is. I still haven’t gotten my style figured out or exactly how I like to dress, but this book is getting me there.

 

In The Company of Women

How many more times can I describe one of these books as inspiring? In the Company of Women felt like sitting down for a quick cup of coffee with incredible women creators from the around the world. I loved it.

 

Feminist Fight Club

I highly appreciate anything that can manage to be inspiring and get a laugh. This book is no joke–I took pages of notes on advice for how to handle common work-place situations and advocate for myself–but it does have a “laugh at your own pain” vibe. Her chapter for men “PSA: A Penile Service Announcement: How to have a dick without being one” had my boyfriend and I rolling.

 

Best Fiction and Nonfiction Books of 2016

6 Best Fiction Books of 2016

Despite being a short list, these books are the ones I keep recommending to my friends and can’t stop talking about. I read them all quickly and voraciously, much like I would devour a piece of lemon cake. Please enjoy these reading treats.

 

The Lost Boys Symphony

This is one of the first books I read of 2016, and I continued to recommend it to friends throughout the year. The story has stuck with me, and I can still remember how it made me feel. I stand by my (repeated) recommendation.

 

Still Alice

Told from the point of view of a professor who is slowly succumbing to early-on-set Alzheimer’s, this book drew me in and spat me back out paranoid. The insight into the frustration and the fear from Alice’s point of view was heart-breaking.

 

All the Light We Cannot See

This is another book I continue to recommend. It was originally recommended to me by a coworker, and I put off reading it for months. I wish I hadn’t. The story is rich and complex. I couldn’t put it down.

 

Americanah

Americanah languished on my list for months before I read it from start to finish in quick succession. I enjoyed exploring Nigeria and seeing America through an immigrant’s eyes. The story is harrowing, but worth sticking with.

 

Landline

Rainbow Rowell, the author of Landline, made me fall in love with fiction again. I had been on a massive streak of nonfiction before reading Rowell’s (also excellent) Fangirl. I then read through all of her books. I would recommend all of them, but this one really sucked me in and left me thinking about it weeks after.

 

The Unseen World

The Unseen World took me by surprise. I don’t remember where I heard of it, but I wasn’t sold on the premise when I picked it up from the library. But I couldn’t get enough of it once I started reading it. The main character is trying to unearth her father’s past, and the realness of the story made it come alive. Warning: I spent an entire work day reading this book after intending to read only a few pages at lunch.

 

If I could only recommend two fiction books to read from this year, I’m pretty confident I would go with All the Light We Cannot See and The Unseen World.

 

You can see my entire year of reading here.

Instant Inspiration: In the Company of Women

In the Company of Women is everything I want in a book – inspiring, informative, reflective, and eye-opening. This book is the perfect answer to “You can’t be what you can’t see.”

The book features 100 women and their thoughts on their work, lives, mistakes, and inspiration. The gorgeous spreads are loaded with encouragement and the reminder that everyone starts somewhere (not to mention some massive studio/workplace eye candy).

In The Company of Women

Grace Bonney, the founder of Design*Sponge, interviewed so many insightful, diverse, and intelligent women. I loved reading about all of the different jobs these women were drawn to or created for themselves. Their bravery and tenacity shone through. Painters, illustrators, writers, interior designers, musicians, furniture makers – these women do it all.

In The Company of Women

While a few familiar names popped out at me–Hi, Roxane!– there were so many creative women to get to know. I loved hearing so many perspectives and seeing bits of myself in these successful, goal-chasing women.

In the Company of Women Quotes

“You have to be willing to be bad at it to get good at it.” Mary Going

“Throw hesitation and insecurity out the window.” Jasmine Wright

“Success to me is when I am feeling purposeful, authentic, and of service to others.” Christy Turlington Burns

“You can’t sit there and wait for things to fall into your lap. You’re in charge of your life, so go after what you want.” Joy Cho

In The Company of Women

This book is perfect for anyone who wants to work for themselves, start a business, or strike out on their own. I will definitely be borrowing it from the library again when I need a little pick me up or a push forward.

In The Company of Women

In the Company of Women could not have come at a better time for me. I have been freelancing from home for almost a full year now, and it gets incredibly lonely. Without coworkers to bounce ideas off of or brainstorm with, I start to feel stagnant and like a broken record. While it won’t ever replace real live humans and their brilliant ideas, In the Company of Women still gave me some much needed insights and inspiration. I can’t wait to see what the next year brings.

3 Months Post Peroneal Tendon Surgery

I’ve finally made it to the point where I forget for hours at a time that I’ve had surgery.

It took me three months to get here.

Yesterday I spent a couple hours on my feet in the kitchen making granola bars and heavenly gluten-free ginger cookies. Right as I was about to put my first batch in the oven I realized my ankle hurt.

Now you could blame the cookies for blinding me, but in reality I had finally made it on my feet for an extended period of time without pain. I finally made it past the threshold where that pain is always right around the corner, always on my mind.

3 Months Post Peroneal Tendon Surgery

 

3 Months Post Peroneal Tendon Surgery Progress

These days I’m walking. Big news over here. I can now tolerate walking around a mile and a half before the pain starts to set in. While I’m starting to get sick of the brace, I’m overjoyed to ditch the damn boot. Also, it helps that I only wear the brace when I’m out of the house.

Sleeping has gotten so much easier since I had to sleep in the boot/ the night splint made from my (smelly!) old cast. Unfortunately my side-sleeping habits still put too much tension on my tendon at night. Pro tip, a couple stiff pieces of tape can fix this right up. Tape from the center of your arch up the outside of your foot and ankle so the tape holds your foot in slight eversion and you are good to go (to sleep).

The gym has gotten more exciting. I can finally weight-bear which means not only can I carry my own equipment, but I can also start doing some light deadlifts, air squats to parallel, and standing arm exercises. (Also, another important tip. Do not try to crutch with 20lb dumbbells in each hand. Does not go well. You’re welcome.) It’s to the point where I don’t mind sweating it out on the bike instead of freezing on a winter run. Timing is everything.

I can drive! Okay, technically I can drive, but someone backed into my parked car the week I started being able to drive again. So you know, I can drive when my car is back from the shop.

Post Peroneal Tendon Surgery

I got the okay to try kicking, but it’s way too cold to even think about swimming. So that’s on hold until I get braver, it gets warmer, or I find a comfortable indoor pool.

Up Next

I’m still quite a ways off from running, but I’m working hard to strengthen my feet, ankles, and hips so the rest of me is ready when my tendon is. I’m finally getting into heel raises and balance work, which is both exciting and acutely painful.

Yoga is my next goal. I think I’m about ready to heavily modify my favorite power yoga class. A couple blankets, two blocks, and a ton of tape is all it takes.

3 Months Post Peroneal Tendon Surgery

And hopefully my ankle and foot will stop turning purple soon too.