Life is never predictable, that much we all know. and this is definitely one of the many important lessons we all need to learn. Sometimes, what life serves us may not be the experience we want, but the experience we need, in order to progress.
In July 2020, while rediscovering the small pleasures of life after the pandemic, a chronic pain that has been bothering my knee for the last two years, surfaced again. This time it was worse than ever and it hit me while climbing a mountain and descending through an abyss.
I finally took the matter seriously and after a week of investigations, I’ve learned my summer was about to end suddenly and along with it all the plans I had for the remainder of the year. The scenario I was facing was ranging from a mild impact to grim scenarios.
This news brought with it the fact that I will have to confront some of my biggest fears: getting epidural anesthesia, being unable to walk for a number of days, confined in my apartment with my own thoughts while summer is passing by. Then, having to give up all my usual activities and doing sports again, hopefully, in about 4-5 months. On top of this, add a big hole in the budget.
It was hard to cope with the news, but as I’ve learned this year, no matter how bad the situation is, you have to adapt. The faster you adapt, the faster you succeed. So I’ve accepted my new reality for what it was and decided to go through it with my head held high.
While preparing for the worst as I was going into surgery, some unexpected things have happened in the following days.
Here are 9 important lessons I’ve learned in my first week in crutches. Important lessons that have changed my life in a way I could never have predicted:
9 Important Lessons to Learn When You Are Down
1. Take Action.
I was happy I stopped cutting corners and addressed the matter upfront. I believe alternative treatments can work only up to a point. I had to make a choice between taking a slow recovery road which might’ve worked or not, prolonging a lower standard of physical activity, or confronting my fears and ending this fast, so I can recover fast.
2. You Can Adapt to What Life Sends Your Way.
Learning to adapt is a fundamental skill to succeed in life. Life may put you down, but staying down is a choice. Sometimes, what life serves us may not be the experience we want, but the experience we need, in order to progress. Life is never predictable, that much we all know, and this is definitely one of the many important lessons we all need to learn.
3. People Will Support You.
Perhaps not the friends you were expecting to or the ones you were hoping to, but this lets you see who will step up, rise to the occasion, and have their deeds align with their words.
You just have to ask for help and accept it when being offered. In my life experience, those that say often you can count on them any time are suddenly busy and those that actually help you, say it just once, then they actually do it.
4. Stop Taking Things for Granted.
I’ve learned first hand how easily we take basic things for granted, from taking a shower, cooking a meal, or getting dressed to go to an appointment. We never picture ourselves in situations where these could become challenges. But you learn to adapt and make it work.
You can find someone close to your heart in the most unlikely setting. Let’s face it, hopping around in crutches doesn’t quite describe your most attractive side. Yet, nothing is impossible.
I found strength in me that I didn’t know before. I am who I am and I will not stay down. I could feel an energy in me wanting to put me back on my feet as fast as possible. As the saying goes:
Strongest steel is forged in the strongest fire.
This thought drove me in less than a week to exercise again (my upper body), reorganize my “should”-s and “must”-s, quit smoking cigarettes again and in the end drop the crutch sooner than I was expecting to.
I realized this is one of those situations out of which I can become better or bitter. Hard to say which way it looks from the outside, but what really matters is how you feel on the inside. In my case, I definitely gained more confidence and strength.
It opened a bigger appetite for life. Where will that lead, I will find out. What I know for sure is that I will have a story to tell at the end of it. It’s hard to know heaven if you never went through hell.
It forced my introspection once again. It’s always a step forward whenever you get to spend time with yourself.
Normally in the summer, there would have been a lot of temptations going around and much less focus on my internal feelings, thoughts, or reasoning.
If you’re going through a tough time yourself, don’t despair. Count your blessings, be thankful for what you have, adapt, adapt, adapt, never stay down and rise again, stronger than before. Be the best you can be. Be legendary, cause that’s what you really are, you just don’t know it yet.
What about you? Do you have any important lessons or experiences you would like to share with our readers?