A Forced Slowing Down
I was hit by a car in London in October of 2012. I was spending the fall semester abroad in Germany--a very challenging, scary, amazing experience. By October, I'd finally made a true friend, another American girl, and we were headed to London for a weekend of exploring, shopping, and eating Chipotle (no Chipotle in Germany!). We were crossing the street when I looked to my left just in time to see a car approaching. In that moment, it felt like time stopped. I had just enough time to have the realization that I was about to be hit by a car. I tried to brace myself, but I didn't have time to move out of the way. The next thing I knew, I was on the ground, cars whizzing past me on either side. When I was able to stand, I instantly knew something was very wrong with my ankle. In the five years since, it has been an ongoing struggle of swelling, pain, surgery, MRIs, and injections.
After I had my surgery and spent months in a boot, on crutches, in a cast...I vowed that I would never again take my ability to walk and be active for granted. Predictably, that didn't last that long. I was soon enough able to walk again, but the appreciation and gratitude I felt for that didn't last as long as I swore it would. Walking became just another part of life again. Sometimes, I even complained about it, avoided it, cursed it! Thinking back on that now, I feel ashamed.
When my foot started hurting and my ankle started swelling again this summer, I put off going back to the doctor for as long as possible. Eventually, I knew my foot was probably broken, and that every step I was taking was only making the problem worse. When I left the hospital with yet another boot (my third!), I was sad. I couldn't walk to work, I couldn't even GO to work because my office is on the third floor of a building with no elevator. I couldn't go apple picking or to the pumpkin patch. We couldn't go on any early autumn hikes. How depressing. The first time around, I struggled with walking because I had to. I had to get to class and back so I could graduate on time.
Now that I'm older and enjoying the freedom of a flexible job, I'm actually missing out on things. I'm not able to do things that I really want to do, have experiences with Ryan that I really value. I think that fact has shoved the issue of gratitude for my body and what it can do for me right back in my face. This time, I mean it. When I'm able to walk again, I'm going to really value it. I'm going to take leisurely walks in the forest, long walks on the beach. I'm going to practice yoga and work my body to keep it healthy. I'm going to nourish my body with the foods it needs to create energy, to run smoothly, to someday help me grow a baby. Kind of a shame it takes me five years and several bouts of ankle issues to realize all that, huh? Funny how that works, that we don't usually appreciate what we have and what we can do until it's taken away. I'd like to change that. I want to be thankful for everything in my life and pay attention to THAT rather than focusing on the things I don't have. I want to take care of the things that I do have and invest in the people and passions in my life while I can. And hopefully I'll be able to walk right on to that path in a couple of weeks :)