I Am Thriving Instead
“If I could not walk far and fast, I think I should just explode and perish.” -Charles Dickens
Leave it to a master to express the exact perpetual frustration I have had for 20 years. A severe stroke at age 35 made it so that I can walk, but not fast or far. I don’t take walking for granted. I realize that I did before I was injured.
I came across the quote from Charles Dickens for the first time yesterday. I was at a Weight Watchers meeting with a focus on exercise, and the leader wrapped up the meeting with that quote.
I had just sat through 45 minutes of listening to others talk about their exercise routines many of which incorporated walking. I sat and felt worse and worse about my disability.
When the Dickens quote was presented at the end, my spirits really sank. I have been dealing with a mobility impairment for 20 years but had never heard a more succinct expression of my annoyance about the situation. I learned how to walk for the second time in my life when I was 35. Losing the ability to walk, even temporarily, sucked profoundly because at the time I was pregnant and had a 2 year old son.
I slowly recovered. 20 years later, I limp and walk with a cane. Balance issues limit where I can go. For example, the beach is out out of the question.
I told the leader at the Weight Watchers meeting that I can’t walk far and fast. I looked dejected because that’s how I felt. She’s known me a long time so she asked me what I do instead. She knows I ride horses. I told her I can only go once a week because of the limitations at the place where I ride. She reminded me to focus on what I do even if it’s only once a week.
This conversation crystallized my long, hard earned attitude of not taking my mobility for granted, even if I can’t walk far and fast. I can do both of those things on the back of a horse which means I am thriving.