A year ago today I was not a happy hiker, camper, or any of those other cute little clichés used to describe outdoors enthusiasts. A year ago today I bashed my foot into the rock face and had to be carried away from the cliff like a sack of potatoes. A year ago today I went to sleep in tears from frustration, pain, and self-pity.
But that was a year ago, and this is today. Today I smiled as I thought about our family adventures from this past weekend. Today I will laugh with my little boy outside in his sandbox. Today I will run 3.5 miles, not totally pain-free, but nothing a little ice and a good night’s sleep won’t take care of. In fact, a lingering tightness after cold runs and a decreased range of motion that’s 99% of the time only noticed on stairs are the only physical scars left from a year ago today. And while an MRI taken over the holidays of course showed evidence of past damage, the doctor assured me that it was nothing I needed to worry about at present. Mentally I’ve had a lot more to work through, and while I still have random fleeting moments of irrational fear while I’m climbing, I think I’ve actually come out on the other end a lot stronger. And meanwhile I’ve learned a lot about me in the process.
Though serious, my injury was by no means life threatening, and I know plenty of people who have gone through far worse pain and heartache, both physically and mentally, than I have. My intent with this post is not to be melo-dramatic in attempts to gather unneeded sympathy, but more just to reflect at the difference a year can make on one’s outlook on life. Seasons of life come and go, some good and some bad, and sometimes it’s helpful to acknowledge that whatever you’re going through is just a season. If life sucks for you right now, take heart that a year from now it will probably be different, and hopefully if your current struggles are not gone and forgotten, you’ll at least be on the road to making peace with them. On the other hand, if life is treating you well right now, enjoy every minute of it! Bottle up all of that goodness that you can – it may make future hard times a little bit easier to swallow. And maybe remember to say a kind word or two to a friend, family member, or neighbor who might be smack dab in the middle of hurricane season while you’re spending your days in an endless summer.
And as for me, still none of those outdoorsy clichés are applicable, but not because they aren’t true. They just don’t seem broad enough. Today I’m not a happy hiker, camper, or anything else. Today I’m just happy.
What about YOU – compared to where you were a year ago, do you like where you are now? If yes, take inventory on how you got there. If no, what changes would make your life happier and healthier?