Steps Are Your Mortal Enemy (Week 3 in a Cast)

In my imagination, this is what my house's steps look like.

In my imagination, this is what my house's steps look like.

I'm 43 years old and I've encountered several obstacles along the way in life. I expect you've done the same. So here's a scenario: When you come to an obstacle in your life, such as being in a cast and encountering stairs leading to the first floor of your house, what do you do?

A. Turn around, put your head in the sand and give up.
B. Sit on your butt, slide on down, taking your time.
C. Hop down on one foot, knowing you got this.
D. Call for help and have a family member help you down.

Okay, do you have your answer? Good. Normally, I go for option B, thinking it makes sense to take one's time and get down the stairs safe. However, there have been two times over the last three weeks in which I went with option C. And I'll be honest with you, both times I slipped and fell toward the bottom.

For those of you who are in a cast and recovering from an injury, let me make this nice and simple: Learn from me. Stairs are your mortal enemy. Do not think that you can vanquish them because they are stairs. You are human, get tired, make a mistake, slip, fall and get hurt. The stairs and simply stairs. Be smart and safe.

When faced with a challenge in life, I have encountered times in which I just get frustrated and want to rush on forward and solve the issue. If I've had a long day at work, am tired and hungry, I want to get through the tough time and zip onward to the next moment. But things are different when you're in a situation in which your health and recovery are tied into being smart, watching out for yourself and taking it easy. Back on Monday of this week, I had gotten up at 5:30 a.m. to do some writing on my next book. By the time I was able to finish and get ready for work, I was running late. I saw the steps and decided hop down them on my good leg. Toward the bottom, I misjudged the next step, stumbled and fell forward, slightly landing on my bad leg. Shocked and stunned a bit more than anything, I fell into the closet door at the bottom of the stairs and picked myself up and went on with my day.

I had done a stupid thing. Rushing plus impulsive thinking equals problems for me. The hardest thing about having a temporary disability is that in your mind you think you're strong enough to do what you have always done, but you're not. I'm imperfect, make mistakes and am having trouble with frustration. I'm four weeks into being incapacitated with my left leg with three of those weeks being in a cast. I still have three weeks to go (at least--not sure what my doctor will find when I go back in mid-August). I still have work, meetings, house chores, showering, cooking, cleaning up from dinner and a whole host of other responsibilities to do. I have received help, but there have been times when my kids are tired and they're cranky and they push back if I ask them to too often. They've been great, but they're kids.

When I write a book or train for a marathon, I have practiced strengthening my willpower. I get into the mode of "I'm going to finish this task no matter what." However, the same willpower does not necessarily help me in my current situation. Instead of looking at the stairs and thinking, "I can hop down and overcome this," I need to pay more attention to slowing down and getting on my butt and sliding down the stairs. It's slower, but safer.

I think the stairs metaphor is a good one for life. There are obstacles that we come across and we need to think of how best to overcome those problems. Some days I fail miserably, some I succeed. It is what it is. Hopefully, you'll learn from me and try to not conquer every obstacle by charging forward. Sometimes the best way forward is around, through or over. There might be a simpler solution, like sitting on your butt and sliding down, but we may not have the perspective to see what will work best. I'm working on taking the time to see the options and to think before I leap (literally). See you next week.

(And for those of you following along, here's the first and second weeks of my being in a cast journey.)