(See that? Two nineties R&B/hip-hop references in one blog title. Anyway…)
Picture the scene: me, with a sick bug.
Me, feeling really sorry for myself, lying on the bathroom floor, trying my level best not to die (or at least tweet what I’d like inscribed on my tombstone for pity points).
And then, me, retching a lil’ too hard, and giving myself a rhomboid strain (basically, the bit that joins your shoulder blade to your spine) that took me out of commission for a solid six weeks.
I’ve got a lot to be grateful in life, but that lil’ piece of luck sure as hell ain’t an example of such a thing.
This follows a whole number of months in which I have, for one reason or another, not been at what you might call peak fitness – what with physical issues (turns out I have absurdly low blood pressure, especially for someone who carries more than a few extra pounds on the boo-tay) and mental ones (y’all – that ol’ black dog has reared its ugly head one too many times of late).
So anyway, here I am – after six weeks of making sure not to move my arm too much, of swearing in a most unladylike fashion (usually when a hush descends on the office), and of – being totally honest, here – medicating pain with cake (because god dammit, I am not allowed quality time with painkillers on doctor’s orders).
Here I am, that is, with a fully-packed gym bag, ready for a workout tomorrow morning.
Hopefully. It’s been a hella long time since I managed to get up for a 5:30am alarm call.
What’s fascinating, though, is how quickly injury and illness can get a girl out of good habits – and how important it is (it turns out) to keep in mind that most of the time, these things are a temporary issue, and not a reason to quit workin’ on your good stuff entirely.
Let me tell you for why.
Habits are one of those things that are hard to form, and hella easy to break. The more observant of you might take this opportunity to point out that three blogs in eight months is an example of not being on form with my habits, and I’ll accept that. You’re not wrong.
It’s ridiculously easy to just let things drop, and to exercise wilful forgetfulness around things you know you oughtta be doing – especially when you have a totally legitimate excuse not to do them. For example, let me talk you through my thought process in just one of my recent phases of bad health:
- I’m injured, and therefore it is a-ok to spend the day lying in bed with Netflix. That counts as recovery, right?
- I’m lying in bed with Netflix, but there’s no food in my house and getting dressed would be way too inconvenient and probably not conducive to my speedy recovery. Which makes it totally ok to order a pizza.
- There’s nobody else at home to share pizza with. Which makes it totally ok to eat half this pizza for dinner, and half of it for breakfast tomorrow.
- I had pizza for breakfast, and now I’m way too sluggish to do anything else with my day, so I’mma watch more Netflix.
- I still haven’t been food shopping. Can I eat takeaway two days in a row? I’m injured, after all…
And so on, and so forth, and so weirdly, painfully easy. That devil on my shoulder can outsmart the angel any god damn day of the week.
But it ain’t over ’til the fat lady sings, and quite frankly one of the things I’ve been sick with is a sore throat, so you’re not getting a tune outta me quite yet.
You’ve gotta assume that sometimes, things won’t go to plan. Sometimes, despite your best efforts, your body will work against you and you’ll feel as though giving up and conveniently ignoring the fact you’ve lost your rhythm in favour of cake, five meals in a row, is a totally viable option. And it is (quite frankly, it’s basically how I spend every birthday). But not for too long.
But – BUT – even if you do do that for a long time… That’s ok too. Because what follows, is this:
No matter how long you’ve been out for, you pick yourself up, and you carry on.
Y’all know I hate diets, and I hate temporary solutions, and quick fixes, and everything else that fits along those lines. Because they imply that you have to keep up a certain level of restriction, or commitment, or self-criticism, forever – and if you slip, you’re back to the bottom of the ol’ snakes-and-ladders situation, and you’ve gotta start all over again.
That, oh wise team members, is bullshit.
Every time you get stuck, every time things don’t quite go to plan, and every time you lose a lil’ bit of ground on your health journey, you learn something. You gain something that will help you continue moving forward, and you grow as a person.
In my case, I’ve learned that, despite some ridiculously bad luck, I’m grateful that my body can still do what it’s supposed to do, most of the time at least… And that my health is even more important than I’d ever realised before.
I believe it’s pretty much impossible to fail, if you continue to learn. Say you’ve gained a few pounds, or you’ve lost some good habits, or you’ve just gotten lazy with your writing (case in point: me). None of these things are failure if you can look at the whys and hows, and hit ’em off at the pass next time around.
So if, like me, you’ve had a run of bad luck, or you’ve just let things slip a lil’ bit, or you just need a new kick up the arse, I suggest to you this: look at the big picture. Everything you do, and everything that happens to you, or in your life – everything is an opportunity to learn, and to grow, and to come back stronger and more powerful than ever before.
Take that opportunity. And enjoy the fact that you, no matter what happens, are on a journey in which every event is a chance to make awesomeness happen.
And with that – go forth, y’all. Conquer some stuff.
You got this.