My original subject from this post was going to be all about responding with love to adversities and adversaries. I was inspired by Corey Booker's response to a standard-issue negative tweet from the Republican nominee - answering the hatefulness with love, compassion, and rising above the negativity. It's a truly admirable example, and one that everyone should follow, regardless of your party affiliation, if we actually want to make the country and the world a better place.
Little did I know that the obstacle put in my way this week would quite be to this level.
After trying to self-manage mild but ever-present pain in my left foot this summer, which I self-diagnosed as plantar fasciitis, my first run in a few weeks sent the pain level up a few notches and finally got my stubborn, prideful self to the podiatrist. I expected to leave with admonitions about better shoes and not being barefoot in hardwood and maybe a cortisone shot to get me through.
Instead, I was told what no active New Yorker - or anyone, for that matter - wants to hear: Crutches. For at least 4 weeks, if not 8. God save me from any more than that. A tear in my plantar fascia.
So, yes. My left foot is now my not-quite-literal flat tire - my obstacle.
I'll be put in a cast after Labor Day - wearing a boot until then, because I will be damned if I miss out on my last two weeks of swimming. Crutching my way down to the pool took forever (and good GOD I forgot how painful it is to crutch around the city...my hands and my armpits are 20 billion times more painful than my foot) but hitting the water made it so very worth it. Watching the sun set over the East River as I glided through the water was the absolute best thing for my body and soul.
So, now is where all my platitudes get put to the test. The purpose of life is to enjoy every moment is my life philosophy, and I intend to enjoy this adventure as much as I can, despite the disappointments. No more Labor Day getaway filled with hiking and exploring Cold Spring with my love. No 10-mile Bronx race in September or 8K Run for France on Sunday. No taking for granted going up and down stairs, making dinner, setting up mats for my yoga classes, dashing across the room to get the phone or the door, speedwalking from my apartment to the subway in 5 minutes. As a very active, very self-sufficient, very spry (for lack of a better word) person, not being able to do these big and little things can set me off in anger and frustration like nobody's business.
Acts of kindness are never more on display, from my friends and from strangers, than when I'm injured. My husband, thank the sweet lord, is not out of town doing a show like he was the last time I was confined to crutches, and takes incredible care of me in sickness and in health. And despite being unable to run, I got to swim into the Astoria sunset tonight.
A torn plantar fascia is not a broken foot, or a broken leg, or cancer. I'm young and in great shape. Despite the considerable expense, I'm able to get good health care and have the resources to get the shoes and myriad of accessories needed for recovery and rehabilitation. I am blessed with a roof over my head and stability & love in my life. I have a job I love so much that it brings tears to my eyes when I think of not being able to do it. I acknowledge that this is a first-world problem.
I am an optimist at heart. I do have an excellent ability to be cynical and negative, to complain and to burrow myself into being a victim, but I truly am an optimist at heart. And in the end, I know I will learn valuable lessons from this. (The first being - stop trying to tough out pain, because the only medal you will be rewarded is crutches! For some reason that one takes awhile to stick...)
They say comedy is tragedy plus time, which is completely true. This doesn't qualify as major tragedy, not by a long shot, but it is a big physical, emotional, and mental obstacle. So I'm just going to try to love it. I'm going to try to love doing everything incredibly slowly. I'm going to love the flights of stairs awaiting me in these next weeks. I'm going to love my foot instead of reacting how I normally do to injury - with anger and resentment of my body.
Mainly, I'm going to try to find the humor and perspective in the moment that normally comes with time. I will need lots of help and encouragement, but I know my fellow New Yorkers and loved ones are up for the job.