As far as the train could go, I rode it to the end of the line. It was a man-made island filled with modern steel and massive machinery, an international hub of commute and dreams. Here I’ve come and gone, bringing people to the gate, hoping to go off, but to only be smacked by reality. The truth was, that I realise it was not my turn yet. The possibility of going was such a well-justified dream, just that I couldn’t withstand the realities of the consequence to be shaken and bedridden again if I were to be injured…
“ Congratulations! You’ve graduated!” A physio stuck out her hand and greeted me. The smiles and handshakes came and I was filled with so much happiness. These two years dragged on, but I’ve made it through. Nothing quite touches home the way it happens when force to listen, learn, think and live it with no choice.
I am happy beyond belief and I thought I would cry at this moment, but I am in no circumstance to. Not knowing if I would be able to walk again, and now being able to run again is a huge success. It is like a blind person gaining x-ray vision along with their sight. I thought that if I’d ever be able to run again, I’d cry, but being on the treadmill with pain trickling down my nerves, and exhaustion exfoliating through my body, tearing up would be a whole new skill set to learn. Plus if I tried and lost focus, I could potentially fall and end up part of the machine. All the other hamsters would laugh at me, and I’d be known as the hamster that came close, but never made it.
I’ve finally hit a wall, and I don’t know if I should continue. I feel like I’ve been working so hard for almost two years, just to try become like a ‘normal’ person and it’s taking so long. This gradual time till now feels like everything’s been broken down into particles, and those particles into smaller pieces, each piece slowly floating in the still current of time. Time slowing down, feels great on a holiday or to just relax, but when I’m trying to heal, I want it to speed up so I can just get back to the basics. I’ve been trapped on Alcatraz and can’t wait for my life to begin. I feel a full stop has been put on my life and I’m caught on the sidelines.
For progress to be made there has to be struggle. I guess I must be making a lot of progress, because I’m struggling every day. Everyday is a new challenge and a day where I face my injury, stating it now that I won’t settle. I won’t quit. The morning shines bright and beckons for me to step up. Doing plus one and solid, I walk every morning to the hospital. I’ve got to warm up anyways, so here’s a place to start. Instantly I am in the zone, I am training round the clock. Straight from the get go, I am working on my balance and coordination every time I brush my teeth. If I’m brushing my teeth with my right hand, then I’m balancing with my left leg. After the top half, I move down to my bottom set of cavity free pearly whites, this time it’s left hand single right leg stance. We only get better by doing more, so I do more… and then some with everything I do, I close my eyes to game up and intensify my balance.
Buzz* buzz* buzz* silence. buzz* buzz* buzz*. This is not a bee. Unlike usual alarm clocks mine is silent. I wake up to waves of vibrations. Set on the corner of my bed, the episodes past through me with stimulating conviction. It is time to wake up. There was a time before this that I believed being awake during normal hours was not needed, but there is a time and place for everything. Now I am bringing myself to the next level.
Up on the hills and away from the bustling concrete jungle I prepared another hour of gruelling pain spreading rehabilitation with a smile. The lift doors opened and I walked through a set of doors greeted by a breeze of chilly air and the smell of exercise. To the right I landed at the gym and saw what appears to be my wizard friend. Just like all great wizards he has a white beard and a curious faint grin on his face, with a human touch of his shirt being tucked above waist height to a nice rounded belly.
Still living opposite times from the rest of the day dwellers, I woke up to a glimpse of light. Just enough to take in my daily double dosage of sunlight before the blanket of the night sky pulls over.
With the fading sun, I go off to take advantage of the final hour in the salon to raise my hair and lower my ears, because such services are not provided during the night. I then scurried off to grab my belongings and headed for the membership club to swim. For today my haircut pushed the time back, and I could not make the time allowance for swimming hours at my place.
After grabbing my belongings, I hopped into a taxi where my eyes met an unusual sight. The driver was an elder gentleman with rubber washing gloves on, with the fingertips cut out for his fingers to go through. I asked him in Cantonese, “ Did you injure your hand?” He replied with a shaky gentle voice, “ No, this is for convenience and support. Other driver’s won’t wear this because they think it looks ugly.” I responded, “ It’s not how it looks, but the practicality and effectiveness of it. You’re good with me.” He looked up at my reflection through the front mirror, “ And what’s wrong with you? Were you naughty?” glancing at my walking stick. I explained the situation that had occurred and my current circumstance. “ Oh my, that’s really serious isn’t it..” I replied, “ Yeah, I’m lucky to be moving around again. I’m happy to feed myself or be able to go to the bathroom. No more contact sports for me. My life has changed.” He responded, “ Life is like that, one event can change everything. You’re lucky you know…” I darted in, “ Yeah, I am…” He continued, “ If you were my age, you might not have healed. Good thing you’re young.” I knew that my previous physique and youth had contributed a lot with healing, and I would not have been so lucky without grace. I opened up, “ But I’m not fully healed yet. I’m at about 80% good and I do rehabilitation everyday so that I can come to this stage.” The elder gentleman replied, “ You’re walking pretty well.” My lips curved and I had a full smile on my face. I don’t know if he was able to notice through the shadows, but it meant a lot to think of everything and link it with this moment. The memories that flooded this moment added so much more than the power of the words alone. This next piece of information he said, took me aback, because it was so true, “ You cannot be afraid of pain. There will be suffering whether you like it or not, you just have to accept it.” This is true. In all hardship, nothing comes easy. If we just learn to accept it, go through it, and press on more than have the battle is won. He kept repeating the statement, “ You cannot be afraid of pain or suffering…”
The taxi turned a corner and we were there. I wanted to continue speaking to this gentleman, but we had come to the end of our journey. I said, “ Your words have touched my heart, please keep the change.” He turned around to me for the first time and said, “ Please don’t.” I interrupted, “ But I insist, because you understand.” He responded with a smile, “ Just give it to me next time when we meet. Good luck with your recovery. Accept pain and suffering, but don’t go overboard with training.” I exited the taxi and accepted as part of my process towards a full recovery. Until we meet again my friend, now it’s time for a swim.
All challenges are character-building experiences. Accept that the process won’t be easy. There will be difficulties. These hurdles are there to help us learn and grow. Once we have accepted it in the right light, this power can be utilise to help us blossom.
How is your journey of acceptance unfolding?
I have activated my ultimate action plan. I’m still here, and I’m ready to heal some more. My previous efforts have been successful, but now I’m going to focus on a new level of healing and not let anything distract or stop me. I have moved into a place where I can focus on just getting better. Here, there is a pool, a gym, and a place to breathe, so I will perform my rehabilitation with laser point precession. Along the journey, I have also brought many books, and even textbooks to assist me. I am researching and implementing daily to improve on my programmes of recovery. All my effort will be into getting better. There will be no more distractions, negativity or hindrances that will shake this journey. Everything is done to a science and with full precision, I am going full throttle.
Now is the perfect moment for everyone to work towards their dreams.
I had to get strong enough to be able to live independently. My aim is not to run from the world, but take this time of peace to reflect. I will be forced to do everything on my own and it is a good thing. There can be no better way of learning or gaining something than by doing it myself. If I want to be able to do it, I have to try, try, try again, until I succeed. Now is my period to think over everything that is happening, has happened, and will potentially happen. I’m drawing plans for various aspects of my life to make sense of it all. Knowing honestly and purposefully what I’m doing for rehabilitation, what I’m doing in my life, what I’m fuelling my body with, what I’m fuelling my mind with, and what I will do to make a positive impact on the rest of my life.
The little things we do now may seem trivial at the present moment, but they may well influence events yet to unfold. It sows the seeds for the tree of potential. Everything happens in good time. I will do whatever it takes to make it happen. Only when I understand with clarity and am shone upon with insight, then will I know that success has been achieved. This would mean I have truly taken a new outlook on life and am prepared. This will be the final reassurance that means I am ready for the rest of my life and next chapter ahead of me.
The physical healing is not the only part, there is also an aspect of mental healing, and that aspect is so much harder. They are both strongly entwined with one another, which is a good thing, a great thing, once I learn to harness this great ability to coherent effectiveness.
So up on the mountains and away from distances, it is peaceful. It is just me, my beliefs, and my strive to succeed. I concentrate, I focus, and I work on getting better. I’m not saying everyone should go to such measures, but do what needs to be done. This is how I need to do it, and this is how I’m going to achieve it.
What is your unwavering action plan?