April 29, 2012
By the time many of you read this, I’ll be through surgery to repair my Achilles tendon rupture (ATR). I wrote this on Sunday because I knew I’d be hopped up on Percocet on Monday and unable to complete a coherent sentence… but maybe you’ll see me on Youtube after an entertaining gassed up conversation after surgery!
Many people have gone through a lot worse than my ATR, and I’m definitely not trying to receive special attention for this. I have examples around me of people who’ve gone through some very painful and long-term conditions, and I admire them very much. That being said, this does give me an opportunity to think about what it all means to me.
My friend, Susan Cooper, posterized a poem I previously wrote. I believe this poem is relevant in good times and bad.
Based on my initial conversations with the doctor, I’ll be in a hard cast for four weeks, and then a boot for another 6 weeks before I can begin to recover physically. Many people say it takes months after that to get back to where they were before the ATR. Based on that, I’m hoping to walk on my own in 3 months and get back to running in 6 months.
Man, that sucks… especially for a guy who can’t stand sitting around and loves his runs around the neighborhood and park! It’s also going to suck for my wife who has to deal with me that whole time!
I can’t wait until I can at least get the casts off and start regaining strength. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a person to ever wish any time away, because I know we all have a limited amount. I do my best to acknowledge this and treasure every moment. However, no one likes to think about an extended time of being in a painful, saddened, or debilitated state.
This is where the advice of the great Economist and thinker Adam Smith comes in handy. He said, “In all irreparable calamities which affect himself immediately and directly, a wise man endeavors, from the beginning, to anticipate and to enjoy before-hand, that tranquility which he foresees the course of a few months, or a few years, will certainly restore to him in the end.”
It’s written in Old English, but it couldn’t be any more clear to me at this point. I know that I’m going to get through this rough patch, and I know that my life will return to normal. Instead of focusing on all of the downsides for the next six months, I’m going to try to keep in my mind how life will be after I’m better.
Smith’s advice applies to other life circumstances as well. It almost sounds like he wrote it after he broke up with his significant other!
That being said, I guess there is a fine line between keeping an optimistic mindset and ignoring reality. I know there will be hard times in all of our lives where we can’t always keep this positive mindset. As stated in Ecclesiastes, there’s a time to mourn and a time to dance. I will do my best to keep an optimistic and positive mindset while I acknowledge the truth of the current situation.
My next goal is to think about the best way to use this time of inactivity. I’ll be able to spend more time writing for YLTL, but what else… start a book… focus my ideas on what business to start…. learn a foreign language? What do you think, have you ever been through a time where you were thrown on your back and made the most of it? If so, I’d love to hear about it and what you did.