No matter how much we plan our future, life will often throw us curveballs. There are moments in our lives that change our hearts forever.
For me it was receiving “that phone call” back in 2017, informing me of the sudden and untimely deaths of both my parents. Then again, the day I fell out of the sky and became suddenly and seriously injured. For others, it’s a diagnosis, an unexpected job loss, a surprise pregnancy. The goodbyes, the hellos – the endings and the beginnings. Moments when time freezes through the constant beat of our hearts, and then morphs into something completely foreign and forever different. We’ll always remember. We never forget where we stood at these pivotal moments and how, in an instant, life transformed us into complete strangers unto ourselves and how we now find ourselves navigating our lives down an unexpected path.
This weekend marks ONE YEAR since I became injured in that skydiving accident. I am still recovering from my injuries. I’ve had two surgeries to repair my arm/wrist, and am now facing another surgery to repair the unhealed fractures in my spine. I can do almost anything without assistance now, aside from heavy lifting, but am currently unable to do the things that I love the most – like running and strength training. Skydiving is also no longer an option, as just one more hard landing would most likely render me paralyzed.
So much has changed for me over the course of this past year, and none of it has been easy. Regardless, though, time moves on. That’s the thing about time – no matter what happens, it keeps moving forward. Therefore, so do I.
I had originally planned to run an ultramarathon this weekend – a 24-hour, 100-mile race for Team RWB. That is, obviously, no longer an option… so, instead, my husband and I are flying out to Las Vegas to forget the world for a little while and immerse ourselves in the sights, sounds, and summer heat rising up off of the desert strip where we chose to exchange our wedding vows. This is exactly the kind of “adapt and overcome” scenario that makes us such a perfect marital match. Rather than stagnate in all the “would-a, could-a, should-a been’s”, we choose to make the best of our current situation by seizing this opportunity for adventure. It’s who we are, it’s what we do.
In previous blogs I’ve mentioned how I felt like the Universe keeps trying to teach me the value of letting things go… but now I believe I may have (repeatedly) been missing the point. Perhaps the lesson at hand is actually not about letting go at all – but in simply appreciating all that already is?
I’ve spent so many years (decades, actually) as a Paramedic, facing death and fighting death, pushing that envelope back so far that I seem to have lost sight of what it really means to simply live. I’ve become addicted to the adrenaline rush, pursuing all of the things that make me feel the most alive – like running, racing, and skydiving – and then taking each of them to the utmost extreme. For instance, with running, if I couldn’t go far, I’d go fast – personal best fast, age group award winning fast, gender winning fast. If couldn’t go fast, I’d go far – marathon far, ultramarathon far, 100-miles in 24-hours far. It’s like I was never truly content to just run – or to simply be physically capable of running. Now that I have been forced to stop doing all of these things, it’s making me realize how out of balance I actually was with each and every one of them.
Even with this upcoming surgery to repair my spine and the intense treatment plan that will follow, I have become so hopeful about making a return to marathon running that thoughts of another Boston Marathon have already begun to dance around in my head! Old habits really do die hard and it can be such a vicious cycle. You have to continually check yourself, again and again, and bring your wandering mind back down to the basics – to the things that really matter.
I am beginning to realize that I am being called upon to move beyond this place of urgency and extremes, constantly trying to do more and be more. I am being encouraged to grow, and to move forward with gratitude and grace for all that I already am, the physical capabilities that I have, as well as, honor and appreciate the people in my life who have continued to love and support me throughout this entire journey, no matter what the end result so happens to be.
Instead of focusing all of my time, energy and thoughts upon making a marathon comeback, I am now making a conscious effort to focus on the fact that I am lucky enough to receive a second chance at all. So many other people who have suffered similar injuries, for one reason or another, don’t always get this chance. The fact that I do, makes me realize how fortunate I actually am… and I refuse to let myself waste this once in a lifetime opportunity by selfishly wanting for more.