Overcoming

Physical limitations.  Some of us are lucky not to experience them in any real way.  Some of us are not.  Sometimes it is a temporary limitation, perhaps you broke your leg playing basketball and need to go through an extensive period of physical therapy.  For others, it is something they will carry with them for their entire life.

It is very easy, when you have some sort of physical limitation, to just blame it for not being able to do certain things and move on.  “I get chest pains when I run, so I can’t run.”  “I have tendinitis in my hands, so I can’t climb.”  “I have a bad back so I can’t….anything.”

“If you really want to do something, you’ll find a way. If you don’t, you’ll find an excuse.”
~Jim Rohn

This even applies, to some extent, to major handicaps.  Look at the Paralympians or the numerous other athletes who have missing limbs and what not, but still find a way to be active because they are driven to do so.  If you are in a wheelchair, make use of your arms.  If you are missing an arm, trying running.  Yes, in some cases they are only able to gain the fame  they do due to expensive prosthetics, treatments, or other expensive aid, but we are not looking for fame here, we are looking for effort and intent.

If you are in a wheelchair, you will likely never be able to run a marathon, but what CAN you do.  Similar to how they say losing ones sight heightens a persons hearing (maybe not to the extent of Daredevil, but still), if you cannot use your legs, learn to use your arms.  If you are missing a limb, make use of the other three.  Will it be difficult at first? You bet it will.  Is it worth it?  You will have to make that judgement for yourself, but I have never heard anyone say no.

I would say yes.

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I have mentioned before, that one week after I was born, I was diagnosed with SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome).  For the first year of my life, I was hooked up to breathing monitors.  For the first year of my life, I was on all sorts of medications that, as an infant baby, made me cry constantly.  Around the time of my first birthday they finally started to ween me from all of this (and according to my mother, being off the medication made me a completely different baby).  Around the time I was in third grade however, I began to notice something that would prove that those days were not entirely in the past.  I started getting chest pains every time I ran.  Sharp pains, that felt like being stabbed repeatedly to the chest and made it nearly impossible to breath.  From 3rd grade through about 7th grade, I was constantly at the hospital, seeing various specialists, undergoing all sorts of testing trying to determine the cause to my pain.  Eventually, I told my mother I was done, I did not want to see anymore doctors, they were not finding anything.  Many years later I would find out that my mother and the doctors had came to the conclusion that this was a birth defect, but my mother never shared this with me until I told her that I had always assumed that was what it was (I was in my mid-20’s when that happened…thanks mom).

Through all this time, and on all the way through high school, I was always on a doctors note.  I was excused from running in gym class, and I was permitted to carry advil or a similar medication with me at all times in case I had an onset of chest pains.  I even left school several times because the pain would come on and be too much to ignore (stress can bring them on as well).  I submitted to the pain.  I let it dictate what I could and could not do.

Then, one day, a few years after high school, I decided that I was done letting it dictate what I did, and I started running for the first time since I was a toddler.  I have never really stopped since.  Two years ago I ran my first 5K.  Last year I ran my first 10K.  I cannot run the entire time, I have to do intervals…usually 2 minutes of running vs. 3 minutes of walking, sometimes reverse if I am having a good day, but I still get up and do it.  I have learned to breath through stress related episodes, so that I can continue with what I am doing.

I also have a bad back.  I landed a flip-flop on my head when I was fifteen years old.  Messed up the lumbar area of my back forever.  I had about a year of treatment, three times a week, and it is better than it once was, but it will always be a problem.  There are a lot of exercises I come across when doing workout programs and just go nope…nope, my back cannot handle that now.  If I can modify it, I do, and sometimes I can work up to doing the regular move.  Other times I cannot.  So, I focus on the exercises I can do, and I take extra care of my back.  I stretch, I foam roll, I make extra sure to drink enough water (you would be amazed the difference in how my back feels when I am properly hydrated compared to when not).

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Both of these things I have learned to manage (as well as a few other lesser issues, like my recent develoment of Reynauld’s Disease).  These are worst than what some people experience.  They are also nothing compared to what some people experience.  Still, they were my struggles, they were mine to overcome.  If you have some sort of disability, you need to figure out what you are capable of.  Research others with your same problem who have excelled physically, read their stories, follow their advice, and even see if you can talk to them about it.  Talk to anyone you can who can give you expert advise.  If you have a regular doctor or physical therapist, talk to them about what you can do to achieve these new goals.  It will not change overnight, it is a long road, and all uphill, but when you get to the top of that hill, look down, and realize how far you have come…yeah, it is worth it.

As Jedi, we should be prepared for anything that comes at us, in anyway we can.  How can you prepare yourself?  How can you improve yourself?  Everyone begins as a novice, what matters is that you begin.

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