Did you ever wonder how you’d manage if you faced true adversity? I always liked reading and watching inspirational stories of people struggling with seemingly insurmountable odds, battling the inner demons, and overcoming the challenge. The classic tale of the protagonist who suffers a terrible woodchipper accident. The montage of scenes showing the struggle of learning to walk again. Fighting a corrupt system that won’t give him the fancy new titanium prosthetic legs. The triumphant comeback to kick the winning field goal in the Super Bowl. Who doesn’t love a feel-good story like that?
How do you think you’d do in that situation? Would you be the hero or would you end up in a wheelchair, addicted to opiates, and yelling at all the nurses in your skilled nursing facility? I don’t know why, but I think about that. Knock on wood, I’ve never faced true adversity, so I don’t know how I’d react. But lately, I’m not sure I’d be the hero.
Health-wise, I’ve been pretty damn lucky. Not through any skill or effort on my part – just dumb luck and good genes. I’ve never really been injured. I didn’t seriously “exercise” when I was younger but managed to stay active enough to remain functional over the years. My weight and fitness fluctuated over time, but never horribly. Blood pressure, blood work, and general health markers have always been good. It’s rare that I get sick. I’ve been pretty fortunate. Until this last year.
I’m not sure what happened. Suddenly my weight ballooned up. Normally I’ve been able to tweak the diet, ride the bike a bit more and I’d be back to normal. It hasn’t worked this time. My balance and fitness level noticeably declined. Then I hurt my back this summer. That was a wake-up call. If you’ve been reading this blog for any time, you’ll know that I hired a trainer and worked hard to rehab. That’s gone great, and the back is stronger than it was before. So semi-protagonist-hero-mode. But it definitely made me grumpy being injured. I never thought I was a complainer, but that side of me suddenly appeared.
And now… I’ve been hit with a new health challenge. It’s been creeping up for a while and finally hit with a vengeance. Last week, for the first time, I had to pass on skiing with friends and hiking the dog. Several days were spent curled up on the couch, feeling sorry for myself. We’re still working through the process, but most likely we’re looking at some permanent lifestyle changes. In the long run it will probably be for the best anyway. But at the moment, it kind of sucks.
I’m left asking myself, how will I manage this pseudo-adversity? I haven’t done terribly well so far. Mrs Troutdog has been super supportive, but I know I’ve been quiet and grumpy. I thought I’d be the person that would be chipper and positive every day as we work through things, but I’ve trended more towards frustration and slightly depressed. So much for the hero protagonist.
In the grand scheme of things, this won’t stack up to be that big of a deal. Certainly not compared to woodchipper accidents. But I’ll admit, I was caught off-guard at how hard mentally it can be to deal with a slightly negative situation. I was sure I’d morph into hero mode when faced with making some minor changes. Instead, I sat on the couch for a week. I can’t imagine the strength it takes for people who face down truly serious adverse scenarios.
There’s a quote I like – “Life gives you what you settle for”. I can take something that ultimately will end up being a minor annoyance and turn it into a healthier lifestyle, or I can resent it and use it as an excuse not to do things.
I choose the former.