In the past few months, I have learned this lesson the hard way.
I was working as a grunt in a steel fabrication shop, bending steel and collecting my regular paychecks. I had never really enjoyed the work, and I had dreaded every Monday where I would return to it. The pay was good though, and so, for a long while, that was enough for me. I had spent some money on myself on my days off, made my life more comfortable, but I was never satisfied.
In December of last year, I sustained an injury during my strength training at the gym. On the last rep of a difficult, heavy set, I became sloppy with my form on the way down and felt a zap in my neck. I didn’t know it at the time, but it was no little muscle tear. I had actually herniated a disc in my cervical spine (my neck).
This was misdiagnosed for a few weeks and life carried on more or less as usual. I was doing everything I could for my injury. Saw a few doctors and a physiotherapist. It all seemed like a muscle issue. About a month later, another gym session with moderate weights set my entire upper body alight. For about a week all of the muscles on my upper right side were contracting and causing pain. My neck was very sore. I lost almost all of my strength in certain muscles on my right side and I was finally diagnosed with a herniated disc.
At first, this accident seemed to me like a curse. I was always very interested in athletic pursuits and now I could hardly take a walk without my neck bothering me too much to even enjoy myself. However, over time, I realized that this may have been the wake-up call that I had been waiting for. The catalyst which changed my life forever for the better. Through discomfort perhaps I would find my ultimate truth, the truth that would catapult me into the life that I had always really wanted to live.
With some time off of work on a short term disability, I was finally able to plan to go back to school. I had time to work on my broken thoughts and figure out exactly what I needed to do to change my life forever. I knew as the weeks went on, that I would never be able to rely on my heavy lifting job to support me for the rest of my life. That job is only interested in me for the use of my body. I knew that I needed to find a job that I could contribute to mostly with the use of my mind alone. I had time to reconnect with my childhood passions. My love for reading and writing. That was always my strength. Yet, I allowed my passion to slip away from me in exchange for comfort and security.
Forthwith, I hope to keep this lesson closer to my heart. I will push myself when my life begins to stagnate and when that insecurity tries to convince me that there’s nothing better for me out there.
For a moment, just imagine that your fears had all shut down…
Your insecurities stopped screaming out to you about the potential pitfalls of the future…
Would your life change drastically? Would you live it differently?
I know that I’ve allowed it to hold me back in the past.
I suppose the biggest lesson that I can take from this whole ordeal is that even an absolute disaster in one person’s life can become an opportunity with the right perspective. Never give up. Keep pushing through. Keep finding your passions.
“When we least expect it, life sets us a challenge to test our courage and willingness to change; at such a moment, there is no point in pretending that nothing has happened or in saying that we are not yet ready. The challenge will not wait. Life does not look back. A week is more than enough time for us to decide whether or not to accept our destiny.”