At this point 2 years ago, I was a month into a pretty nasty leg break. I wasn’t weight-bearing, I had to hobble everywhere on crutches and my knee brace was locked so that I couldn’t even attempt to bend past 45º angle. For the first few months, when I was pretty much house-bound throughout my much-anticipated Summer break, I actually felt pretty good mentally. One of the first things I did was write down a list of all the reasons why it was good I’d broken my leg and all the things I’d get to do because of it. I was immediately aware that a physical injury such as this had the potential to debilitate me mentally and I was absolutely determined to use this as a character-building positive experience: this would not trigger anxiety and depression.
Whilst I was very successful in this approach, it wasn’t all plain sailing. The frustration came three months in, when I was finally allowed to drive and get back to work, but couldn’t keep up with the pace of school life; when I was back on the BJJ mats, but unable to perform even a tenth of the warm-up, let alone the Jiu Jitsu; when a slow, gentle swim caused a whole week of pain and misery. The more able I got, the more frustrated I became. I looked like the old me, so why couldn’t I do what the old me could do?!
Let’s cut forward now to the events of yesterday, when I somehow survived my first Tough Mudder, a 10 mile, mud-soaked obstacle course!
I’m reminded of the proverb, “Good things come to those who wait.” Looking back, the last 2 years seem to have flown by and that period of my life feels a little bit like a distant dream. I know that this wasn’t the case at the time though. I remember the sting of bitter resentment and disappointment that things weren’t going as quickly as I wanted them to; that my body couldn’t do what my mind believed it could. And I remember having to coach myself – and be coached by others – to cultivate the kind of patience that this quote inspires. Really, I didn’t have a choice.
As useful as this patience was though, this isn’t the reason why I’m now physically and mentally stronger than I was before my injury. If I’d have just sat around waiting for 2 years, exercising for no more than a walk to the car, then I can’t even imagine the place I’d be in today. The reason why I’ve been able to even attempt a Tough Mudder, or a run of any kind, is because for the last 2 years, I worked bloody hard and didn’t give up.
So let’s change the proverb to what it should be:
“Good things come to those who work.”