The young woman, working on her PHD, was at camp using the campers to do research. “If you could have a quarter tomorrow, or a dollar next week, which would you choose?” Without a moment’s thought, I replied “The quarter”. She then asked the same question about a marker tomorrow versus a pack of markers in a week’s time. Impetuous in a way befitting the six year old that I was, I chose the marker. I don’t remember the rest of the questions, only that each time I chose instant gratification. The next day, the doctoral student showed up at my house and gave me the quarter, the marker and the other things I had asked for. I remember standing on my porch, filled with regret over my choices.
I started physical therapy yesterday. When the therapist unwrapped my bandaged knee, the contrast between my two legs could not have been greater. It looked like a before and after commercial. (“Are you sick of having fat legs and swollen knees? Then try running”) I know that with time I will get better and that I will get stronger. It has only been three days since the surgery, but I want to be back running tomorrow. No, not tomorrow, yesterday. The therapist made me promise that I would not do any extra exercises, other than the ones prescribed, before my next appointment.
There is a saying in Hebrew “Peri Hamehirut, Hacharata”, which means, loosely translated, rushing results in regret. The rabbis talk of taking the “long shorter way” instead of the reverse. I understand all of this intellectually, Still, in some ways, I am still the impetuous six year old I was so many years ago.
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