Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Empowerment, just learning and growning.

"Don't regret, just learn and grow."
Those are words that I try to live by, I find then empowering. I've had to start wheel-chair shopping and I can't say it's been much fun. I know that by using some wheels for places where I would be out walking a lot, it would save me a lot of energy, and would reduce injuries. It would also help with big injuries, and days when I'd be feeling like chewed gum.

I think we all wonder what our bodies would be like if we hadn't done this, that or the other thing. Would we have saved ourselves from more injuries, surgeries and pain?
Do you know what? No one knows.

Since I'm a big fan of trying to see everything as a choice, here's how I look at it. Living with EDS makes us question everything, we constantly plan ahead and constantly adapt those plans. That's just the way it is. Even with that said, we still have a choice. We may try to compare risks and benefits, and probably often think about what kind of injuries we could acquire. In the end, we still always make a choice.

I choose not to always go out with the girls, or do something that requires a lot of walking around. It always results in needing to take the weekend to recover (even if there isn't alcohol involved) and I feel like I missed out on life when I'm stuck in bed. I do choose to ride my bike, it's something that makes me very happy, it's healthy and it's freedom. Those are things that empower me. I haven't gotten any injuries from it *knock on wood* and feel great afterwords.

I choose not to eat food that makes me feel sick (most of the time). I choose to participate in activities and work that will probably result in an injury. Why?
To put it this way, I don't want to look back on life and regret not taking advantage of those opportunities. What if we took them on and stayed fine? What if we didn't take them and ended up in worse shape? We just don't know, and there's no way to know. Well, unless it's something like skydiving without a parachute.

I had to give up kayaking last summer and this summer will probably be the last summer of canoeing. I've been paddling with dislocating shoulders for the last 7 years. Was it a good idea ? Sure it was! I've had an innumerable amount of priceless experiences, none of which I would trade for a million dollars. Who else can say they've taken a canoe on the subway, paddled down the river just off the subway station, into white-water and then to calm water on the lake while watching an air-show over-head ? There's also nothing else like throwing your camping gear in a canoe and paddling into the middle of no-where, just you, your friends and nature. I've never had any big injuries from paddling, no more than sore tight muscles and the odd dislocation. That was until last summer, but still no regrets.

Do I regret going to the climbing gym even though it was probably one of the worst things for me? Not one bit. I saw it as an opportunity to test limits, and see how far I could push myself.
I also know that I need to call it quits for myself, when I feel like it's time. I always know that I tried as hard as I could to keep going, and had a blast doing it. When it hurts too much and stops being fun, then I walk away.

When I started with Taiko, a lot of people thought it wasn't a good idea. They thought I would hurt myself even more, and that I would be setting myself up for disappointment. I've had to adapt a few things, and will need to keep changing things up to make it work for me. I have loved every second of Taiko and will keep playing until I can't do it anymore just like everything else.

Here's something else to chew on...I think a lot of the time, one of the big things we consider when making a decision is how disappointed we could be. We get hung up on a negative that doesn't yet exist. When something "bad" happens we say "I knew this wasn't a good idea", "I shouldn't have done this", "What was I thinking?". When these things happen, how often do we think "I will definitely learn from this", "Next time, I will try to do (blank) instead" or do we just laugh at it knowing we will find it funny later on. Probably not too often. I used to think that it wasn't about setting myself up for disappointment, but that I would expect something "bad" to happen and thus be "prepared". Not the world's most brilliant idea for this girl. Very slowly I learned that yes, there was a chance that things wouldn't work out the way I wanted, and that the experience might not be a pleasant one. But I know that I always learn from it, and take away something new each time. Who am I kidding, that's how life goes. We can plan all we want and it will never work out that way. Those unplanned, unwanted experiences are the ones that make us grow and become wise beyond our years. I think we need to be like kids again, and get excited more often. Children don't make decisions with anticipation of something bad happening. They still see the possibility in everything and get excited about what could happen. They live in the moment and have the creativity to adapt and make something "bad" into something fun.

With all of that said, even though I'm getting a set of wheels and can't do nearly half of what I could do last year, I don't regret anything. If I go to bed with an injury, I still know that I tried and found out for myself that it might not have been a great idea. I didn't go to bed wondering if I could have done something and missed out. I don't regret, I just learn and grow.

" Be curious always! For knowledge will not acquire you; you must acquire it."

(Sudie Back)

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