So far, 2016 has had me in a bit of a busy block. Ever heard that term? No? Good, because I’m 41% sure it’s my latest invention. Busy block is kind of like writer’s block, but instead of a lack of production being caused by an internal obstacle, a busy block is more external, as in, having too much to do to sit down and write.

I’m entering into the busiest time of year for me, and I realized I hadn’t made time to write anything creative in over a month. I had an idea brewing and had jotted down a few bullet points but wasn’t sure when I’d have time to actually work on it. The idea was to spend a week recapping my life using hashtags. When I started brainstorming for this piece, I thought I had some idea of how it would play out. But then something happened. Something that sent all my well-intentioned bullet points soaring into outer space, looking back and snickering at me behind their little figurative hands as they drifted into the land of never-will-be.

I was walking in my living room. Not running or jumping or even dancing. Just walking across the room, when my right foot met up with the corner of the couch in a very painful way. Now, as a chronic toe stubber, I’m familiar with the pain that has come with slamming my foot against every hard surface in my home. This was completely different. And later that afternoon, a doctor provided me with the proof – x-rays of my swollen foot and the spiral fracture traversing one of the bones. A nurse put my foot in the world’s ugliest shoe and told me to elevate my foot for a few days and take it easy over the next month. I hobbled out of the office plotting how exactly I would be able to “take it easy” with three busy kids, jobs, deadlines, cooking, cleaning, errands, parties, and all the other things I have to get done.  

After arriving home from the doctor’s office, I elevated my foot and picked up a book to relax for, you know, some minutes, before limping back to my computer, and although I spent a couple days slacking a bit in the work and chores department, my life in hashtags project continued. Here are a few of the (unexpected) highlights:  

Day 1: Who does this? Who besides me would break a toe walking in their living room? During the day? #breakitlikeaboss #nailedit

Grandma and Grandpa are taking the kids for a few days. #family #lifesavers

Day 2: Hello from my pillow, 8 a.m. I feel like we could be friends. #milkingit

I can’t wear this shoe. I just can’t. If Quasimodo had gout, this is the shoe he would wear. #fashionproblems

Day 3: Hello again from my pillow, 8 a.m. I think we’re best friends now.. #gettingusedtothis #besties

My toes are taped together. My toes are taped together, and I can’t bend them. I want to bend my toes. SO BAD. #claustrophobia #midnightfreakout

Day 4: The kids are home. I missed them, but now they’re fighting again and asking for food. Being nice is hard. #epicfail #crazymommy

Why are my kids’ feet magnetized to my broken toe? If they step on me one more time… #jesustakethewheel

10 p.m., Friday night: Me and the husband and a 1,000 piece puzzle. #datenight #oldatheart

Day 5: Cuddled on the couch with one of the kiddos and my grown-up coloring book. #peacefulmoment

Day 6: My toes are STILL taped together. #midnightfreakouttaketwo

It wasn’t the week I thought it would be. None of the hashtags I had in mind were used how I thought I would use them. Much of my to-do list went undone. It only took one little splintered bone to turn my whole week upside down.

But we were all okay. The house is still standing, I didn’t get fired, and it turns out some of those things on my to-do list weren’t all that important anyway. I may have had a few more reminders than usual – reminders to slow down, get my priorities right, and watch where I’m walking – or maybe, as I hobbled through the week instead of racing, I just noticed more. I noticed the way my 6-year-old smiled when I said yes to a coloring date, I noticed the way my husband and I laughed as we sorted puzzle pieces and caught up on our recorded TV shows. I noticed that everything didn’t fall apart when I slowed down and did something fun for a little while, or when I accepted a little bit of help.

It turns out the busy block hasn’t just been cramping my writing style. It’s been cramping me.

God has some interesting ways of getting our attention. And sometimes a little interruption (or broken bone) ends up being just what we need.

Jen Spiegel

Author Jen Spiegel

Jen is a wife and mother of three and work as a medical editor. A cancer survivor, special needs mom, and sociologist by degree, Jen is passionate about natural health, the power of storytelling, and choosing hope and gratefulness even on the tough days. In spare moments, she enjoys reading voraciously, making music with friends, and indulging her travel and adventure bug.

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