About mid summer, I took a hiking journey in Virginia that led me to a spectacular view of the sun setting over rolling hills and mountainous terrain. The moment took my breath away and is one that I will treasure dearly in the years to come. However, this particular hiking trip is etched in stone forever for more than one reason. Shortly after witnessing such immense beauty in nature, I slid on a loose rock and fell, ultimately fracturing my ankle and enduring a hell of a trek to get off that mountain.
Little Did I Know…
Little did I know that I would have to piggy back on a friend to get off that mountain (definitely more fun when you’re a kid, in case you were wondering). Or that this fracture wouldn’t heal correctly on it’s own with the splint I was given; or that a couple weeks later I would require two surgical consultations, blood work, and eventually surgery to set it straight. And so now I’m in a very different kind of adventure, but still an adventure nonetheless. And I have coined the hashtag #crutchlife to humorously poke fun at everything you have to think twice about when you’re healing and can’t do simple, basic tasks for yourself.
There are several parts of this experience that hold life lessons and new ways of thinking. All in all, I’ve been humbled and feel fortunate to know that my situation is temporary and I can return back to my normal activities after a few weeks. I never realized that when you’re having difficulties getting around, simple things like doors and long stretches of walkway become your biggest enemies. The grocery store is so close but also so damn far! I needed help with everything.
I’m in my early 30’s and pride myself on my independence. I can take out the trash myself ….oh no wait, I can’t, because both my hands are attached to crutches which means I can’t carry anything else. I want to tidy my apartment on my own time, so I can sweep and vacuum myself…. but no, not really. So actually, the most difficult thing for me to do was to reach out and ask for help. Why? I’m sure there’s some deep psychological reasons behind this, but for the mean time I did my best to push myself to reach out to my support system for some assistance.
One of the most difficult things for me to do, was to cancel my travel plans for July, August and September. Those that who me, know that my livelihood is based on my ability to go off on adventures, to fly, to drive, to run away and come back again, full of stories and new energy. But a conversation with my friend Erika Napoletano brought fresh perspective to my situation. She said, “things are not lost, they are merely delayed.” And we went on to break down how what I want is still out there, I just need to adjust my schedule and my thinking around the matter. She’s right. I was so caught up in my own timeline, how I was off my original plan, I forgot the golden rule, that I can alter the plan at anytime since it is my own, and adjust for the curve-balls that come my way. And suddenly, with just those words, my spirits lifted and my mind began to overflow with all the ways I could turn this setback around.
And speaking of things seemingly lost but not really, I also want to point out what I gained. I have unexpectedly sped up a couple very new friendships that I made earlier in the summer and it’s so awesome. I have found kindness in the most expected and unexpected places. I have had plenty of time to think and ponder. I have laughed harder and more genuinely in the moment. And I have extensively enjoyed my immediate surroundings, particularly my rooftop deck, in good company with delicious food and exquisite wine. I decided that if I want new cards, I need only simply play the hand that I’ve been dealt. So I’m doing just that.
Perhaps the biggest lesson in all of this, is that we can plan all we want, but then there’s this funny thing called life that is sometimes completely random and unanticipated. How well can you dance, my friend? How well can you adjust your sails to the wind, and still sail? Can you still find the lesson, and the laughter too? Can you redefine yourself and yet still hold on to what you call you?