There’s something about a big injury that really changes you.
You see others do things that you know you can not. You learn to relax and not push your limits. To avoid pain instead of embracing it as an indication of growth. To do less than you think you can, instead of more.
You see that you are breakable. You are broken.
And, most scary, you may never again be as strong as before. It could be that your best days of physical ability are forever behind you.
You could be broken, forever.
All of a sudden, growth is not important. Healing is. You don’t want to get stronger muscles, or do more pushups, or practice parkour. You simply want to get out of bed and put on your shirt without feeling that twinge that lets you know you just reversed the healing process a tiny bit. Possibly forever.
You are forced to relax. Forced to think in terms of protecting a weakness instead of growing a strength.
You are in the negative, and every forward step you make in the healing process is getting you closer to zero. The best you can hope for right now is to get back to zero, and not find yourself forever stuck at a baseline of -3.
Every now and then, fear or pity sets in, as you consider that zero may never again be reached. And you must relax and accept that you are doing all you can to reach zero, and the rest is out of your hands.
And here begins the turning point: acceptance. You do everything in your power to not remain broken forever. To get as close to zero as possible.
And, knowing that you are doing this, you take pleasure in each day that you are not worse. A day where you find you are actually a touch better than the day before is a cause for euphoria. You purposefully let go of the image of yourself with a baseline of zero, and move your baseline to –10.
Nothing changes outwardly, but now you are not scared of never finding zero again. You simply want to ensure you don’t go below –10, and go higher than –10 when at all possible.
Could this be what old age feels like? Always trying to not fall backwards, instead of trying to move forward? Thinking in terms of weakness instead of strength?
The thought that this could be a permanent state of mind at one point is terrifying.
And yet, right now, there is little you can do. Except see if you can get back to zero so that you can look towards growth again. And hope, just hope, that you will not be broken forever.