What I’ve learned from falling…

DSCN0659I fell the other day. Hard.

I’m not talking about stumbling, tripping, or becoming off-balance and being able to recover at the last-minute. I’m talking about taking a wrong step, rolling my ankle, and landing on my hands and knees. I’m talking about knocking the wind out of me.

My first inclination was to just lay down on the trail and cry until the pain and humiliation went away. After a few choice words I realized that wasn’t an option since I was in a public park and someone would be coming by at any minute. I did stay on the ground while I inspected first one hand and then the other. Then I did a mental check of the rest of the rest of me to make sure I hadn’t done any permanent damage.

As far as falls go it wasn’t that bad. It was more of a shock than anything. The ankle I rolled didn’t even hurt. My knee was a little scrapped up, but otherwise fine. My hands got the worst of it. One was bruised and the other was cut up pretty bad. I couldn’t type for two days – two days!

R.J. was with me and after I got up again he immediately headed back to the car. I followed thinking I surely deserved not to have to actually exert myself. I deserved to go home and lay down and take it easy. I deserved to take the rest of the day off. I was injured. I couldn’t possibly function, right?

But I had been looking forward to that walk. I had just gotten new pants – which didn’t get ruined when I fell – and wanted to try them out, but we were only about 30 minutes in to an hour and half walk.

So I looked down at my hand with the cuts, saw that the bleeding had pretty much stopped. Checked on my knee and ankle to see if there was any pain or weirdness when I moved them. Checked the rest of me to see if I did something to my back or whatnot and realized that I wasn’t in all that much pain.

Except my hands. They did hurt, but I didn’t have to walk on them so I told R.J. we might as well continue. I was going to have to walk at least a half an hour anyway so why not keep going?

I won’t lie to you. I did take it easy for the next couple of days. And I did take an ibuprofen or two. But the world didn’t end. I still made lunch and dinner. I still washed the dishes and cleaned up. I still functioned. And I like to think I did so with minimal whining.

So why am I telling you this?

To get a pat on the back. To get you to say way to go for not completely melting down. To make you feel worse about a time when you did stay down longer than you probably should have.

Nope.

First, I want everyone to understand that I know every injury is different. I fell in pretty much the exact same way a couple of years ago and needed crutches for a week afterwards. Which is why I was pretty amazed that the very same ankle didn’t hurt after this last fall.

Second, I’m also talking about emotional and mental injuries. I’ve had those too. And sometimes those are harder to recover from than physical ones.

Third, everyone recuperates differently. We all have different pain tolerances. And that is just fine and jim dandy. There is no judgement here.

So, what is the point?

No one can tell anyone else how or when to get over an injury, mental, physical, or otherwise. Sure some try, but they’re full of shit and should be told to back off in my humble opinion. That’s not the point either.

The point of this little tale is to get you to realize that maybe, just maybe, you’re stronger than you think. Even when someone gives you an out, somewhere deep down you know you can keep going. You should keep going. Not out of vanity or ego, but out confidence. Out of the knowledge that if you get back up and keep going this time, the next time you get knocked down – and there’s always a next time – it will be easier to get back up and keep moving forward.

And that knowledge, oh that knowledge, is priceless because no one can take it away from you. It’s the difference between being a victim or a victor. It’s the difference between happiness or depression. It’s the steel in your spine. It’s the strength to make a decision and stick to it even when everyone else is laughing and ridiculing you because they just don’t get it.

It’s the determination to get back up and keep going even when you think you’ve fallen just one too many times…

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