Routines and habits give our lives order, significance and purpose. They fuel our spirit and are the foundation of a fulfilled life. How I arrived at this conclusion is a very personal journey.
It was in the early daylight hour of April 12, 1980 when I was a passenger in a horrible car accident. My friend and I were coming back from photographing the Jersey shore just as the sun was rising. We were both a little tired from working late, but my friend said she was fine to drive. As we were heading home, she fell asleep at the wheel. The car crossed to the other side of the highway and crashed full force into a tree. My life as I knew it, changed. Every plan, vision and goal I had for myself vanished.
I spent the next two years in and out of the hospital, in and out of body casts, rehabbing myself and then experiencing one setback after another. My doctor’s favorite response was “I can’t be sure, it really depends upon how you heal”.
My life became tedious and I longed for normalcy. I knew quite well feelings of unrelenting frustration, helplessness and loneliness. Each day looked like the next with no clear plan. I had no schedule, no old habits and routines that I could rely on that gave me comfort and a sense of purpose. I could no longer see my vision nor feel the anticipation and excitement the future should hold for someone just being the next milestone of a new adult life.
I could only observe and not participate. As every one was beginning their new life, I was stuck in time. I was becoming invisible
During my last rehab visit, the therapist gave me instructions and said, “that’s all I can do, the rest is up to you”. I was officially discharged from rehab, my leg dragged behind me and I was unable to walk without a cane.
Most days I spent alone, pondering life, feeling lost, hoping someone would rescue me and tell me exactly what to do. I had come to a major crossroad in my life. Decisions needed to be made and a plan of action had to be implemented. I’m not sure at what moment it came to me but I suddenly realized that I needed to heal and rehab myself from the inside. Where were my passions, desires, hope and excitement about the future? How did I want to live my life?
One of the things I began to observe was that I desperately needed new routines. I began getting up earlier, beginning my day with movement. Just as I make coffee and brush my teeth every morning, movement needed to be more than a routine it needed to be a habit. Exercise and patience became part of my daily routine. I was not born an athlete. However, once I started exercising routinely, I became much stronger, determined and disciplined, more physically fit and very in tune to what my body and mind needed.
Routine gives life order, meaning and purpose. It was then I realized that I can rehab myself physically. I designed goals for myself asking for help when I needed it and sharing my goals with others for their support. I wanted to be accountable and not lose sight when situations occurred that were painful and difficult. It was practicing these new routines that transcended my spirit.
During the past 25 years, I have encountered many setbacks, all 13 surgeries significant to me. The routines I began twenty-five years ago, serve me daily. They have become life-enriching habits; they are who I am. The behaviors we practice define our way in the world and our identities. How we do, what we do, is who we are.
Ultimately, injury and illness is an experience of personal adjustments that are only shared with others. My experiences and victories are private and dramatically changed my life’s journey and my goals. They are woven into the fabric of my life. In recognition, as a Trainer and Health and Wellness Coach, I lend my hand in gratitude, guiding my clients to live a fulfilling quality of life.
I am my own spirited athlete who never stops winning.
Grit and Resiliency, practice, teach and pass it on…