It's been 12 days since I sprained my ankle. Last week, my ankle was extremely swollen and I could only get around by walking very slow with a very pronounced limp which I called my swagger to make me feel better. I only worked one day last week and spent almost all the time on the couch with my foot up. From the moment I hit the ground, I was more mad than anything. Why? Why did this have to happen? Why now when I have such a full plate and not being able to walk just didn't fit into my schedule. After working so extremely hard this past year to walk without pain, why am I know back to square one? Why me?
I carried these emotions and many more with me all last week. I also thought a lot about walking. I missed it. Luckily, it has been super rainy which made it easier, but there were also a few sunny glorious chunks of time that I lamented being gimpy. I saw my chiropractor a few days ago and he told me that I didn't tear any ligaments (Thank goodness!) and there was no reason to stay off my ankle. Ever since I fell, I wanted to walk back to the scene of the accident. For some reason, this kept gnawing at me especially since it was so close to my house. So when the sun came out in the afternoon, I decided it was time to get some closure.
I slowly, gimpily, walked the 5 blocks to where I fell. Here is the spot where my tumble started. This crack, besides maybe a 1/4 inch of moss, is completely flat. There is nothing there. I spent some time standing here and thinking about how I felt when I fell and all the thoughts that have been polluting my head since.
Then another thought popped into my head: This is the year of no mistakes. Part of my full plate was preparing for TEDxConcordiaUPortland's event last Saturday. The first speaker of the day was Anis Mojgani. Much of what he talked about has stayed with me and I can't wait for the videos from the event to be posted online so I can watch them again. One thing he said is that he and his friends decided to name 2012: The Year of No Mistakes. What if every action has a reason? What if every decision has a purpose along our path in life? If this is true, then there can be no mistakes.
I started to think about my sprained ankle using this mode of reasoning. What if this fall was part of my life's journey? What good could come from this unexpected bump in the sidewalk? What have I learned as a result of this fall?
Instantly I realized that I had learned (or more appropriately - re-learned) many things.
1. My husband is a good man. He catered to my every need with no complaints even when that meant getting up so my ice pack could be adjusted a few inches every 5 minutes.
2. My sis is clear headed and amazing. During the immediate ordeal, she took charge and took care of the situation.
3. I don't have to feel guilty for saying no. My crazy week with a million obligations quickly became one with almost none due to my physical limitations. I'm good at burning out by offering to give more than I can. Physically being forced to turn things down was a good lesson for me. I'm hopeful that I will be able to say no more in the future and not be racked with guilt for wanting to have more free time.
4. Walking is extraordinary. Even with this walking blog that I love so much, I still find myself downplaying it. I tend to say things like "I'm only walking". As if it only really counts if I'm running. Let's face it. I hate to run. I always have and with each injury I dislike it even more. Walking is fun. Walking is exercise. Walking is learning my community and taking time to see all the beauty around me. Walking is powerful and I missed it when I couldn't do it. I have learned that there is no need to downgrade walking and I want to focus on giving it the positive attention it deserves.
5. Life is good. Yes, these last 12 days were hard. It still continues to be hard and I haven't fully lost my swagger yet. But it's amazing the perspective one gets when it suddenly takes 10 minutes to walk 20 feet to the bathroom. When taking a shower is a completely exhausting and scary event, because you can only stand on one leg. When it's just easier not to eat, because the thought of cooking something basic is too stressful to worry about. I take all of these things and life, itself, for granted in my normal existence. It took this injury for me to appreciate how amazing my daily life is. Normal is good and I'm excited to return to it.
I returned home from my walk with a much clearer head. I only walked about 14 blocks in all and it took me 40 minutes. I'm far from returning to the physical path I was doing so well on. I am still undecided about the half marathon in May. But my 'why me' thoughts have vanished. Yes, a sprained ankle sucks hard. Really, really hard. But changing my mindset and deciding that falling wasn't a mistake has lifted my spirits and given me a fresh perspective that I'm truly grateful for.