How many times have you heard the phrase, "Don’t let that define you!" when it comes to a hardship in your life? The intention is good; the well-wisher feels uncomfortable that you seem stuck in a trauma and wants you to move on past it. But is it really helpful?
I enjoy doing outdoor activities, but (as a short, curvy gal) have never been an athlete. In early 2013, I’d just come off of the first hamstring tear of my life and, after six hard working weeks of physical therapy, felt amazing that I had accomplished my goal of healing just in time to swoosh the slopes.
On the first day of my annual ski pass, on a glorious (and lighting-fast) GS turn, I heard an audible pop, then a wash of sheer pain over my left knee. At that point, it would now be that knee’s turn to take the next 40 mph GS turn. I made the split-second decision to just lay it down and assess what had just happened. Long story short: it was a very expensive day skiing…in more ways than one. I had torn my ACL.
The first surgeon I went to assured me that plenty of folks live the rest of their lives with torn knees and are "just fine" taking it easy. Could I ski again? He advised against it. Would I continue to be unstable and in pain? It would eventually be less.
I went under the knife with a different surgeon on Valentine’s Day 2013 and, what followed was knee rehab not uncommon with such an injury: 3 days a week of fairly intensive physical therapy for the next 9 months.
In December 2013, I was finally cleared to workout again at a normal intensity (and not "baby" things). I’m back!
What this experience taught me is twofold.
- Six hours of PT per week ate into my work time, my appointments, and my personal obligations. It also did something surprisingly wonderful; it created room…which I vow to keep in 2014.
- It allowed me to ponder the direction of my business, ohso! design, my speaking engagements, and my musings on Chunk of Change (which is turning into a book this year). Something about the regularity of it, the inevitability of it on my schedule, and the necessity of rest allowed a mind that never turns off to simply take a moment.
So, in short, in 2013, this damn injury did "define me" in many ways. It limited me, caused pain which required immediate attention, and changed the direction of many a planned occurrence. Yet, it also defined my tenacity and resilience.
You have the power to define what defines you and not be scared by a trauma being a large part of it. For me, although my clients had slightly less access to my schedule, they actually got much more of my creative brain. Certain insights and creativity can only come if you allow the room for them. They can’t be forced into a certain time, but the "room for creativity" if you will, can.
As for you, dear reader, you are the most precious to me and, therefore, in 2014, I seek to showcase more of YOU. Look for upcoming posts and features on LBPost, beehoved and more, featuring YOU, and readers like Victory Koredry’s Mark Spitilari, From the Bario’s Robert Renteria, and California Women’s Conference’s Rose Tafoya. I’ve always loved showcasing the challenges and creative solutions that all of you live through.
I hope that we can all learn a bit and change our perspective from how we all define what defines us.
So, I’m curious…How will 2014 define you?