Am I The Definition of April Fools??
Four months of 2017 are already over. And all I can think is..
Seriously. The fact that it’s already April feels like a bit of a joke.
I’m sitting here back in the Pandora office for the first time since mid-December. I walked into the office and nearly said Happy New Year to my work colleagues. It wouldn’t have been entirely inappropriate. Today, I’ve been catching up on and trying to get my head around 4 months of work. Don’t get me wrong, am stoked to be back – it’s just weird to know exactly how much I’ve missed!
On Saturday night, I had a few wines on the grass, went to a social event and ended up going out and about for the first time this year. I may or may not have got Burger Fuel on the way home.What was it like going out on crutches in Ponsonby? That’s a whole ‘nother blog post, my friend! But that same night? While I was having my first normal social experience of summer 2016? Daylight savings kicked in.
Last night as the sun set at 6.30m and drizzle peppered the last few rays of evening light, for the first time in this whole Achilles sage journey, I couldn’t help but feel kinda ripped off. Without the barefoot sprints across the sand, the spontaneous swims, or the early-evening jogs, that darkness seemed to say lol shame you lost.
I know that seems kind of pathetic. But if there’s one thing this injury has taught me, it’s to not take the little things for granted.
The one thing I can confirm from the summer I experienced, however, is the fact that I do have a tiny bit of melanin in my skin because I have a moon-boot tan-line.
When I went to Wellington to recover after I left hospital, I knew that March 23rd was the date where the hustle would kick back into gear.
Why? Because it was the day I was due to host Awesome Hustle – the event Cam and I started planning last October, pre-Achilles drama – and there was no way I was going to miss it.
On March 23rd, I returned back to Auckland city and moved back into my flat. It was the turning of a new leaf, a re-emergence into ‘normal’ life, and I could not wait to crack back into it.
Awesome Hustle went so well that Cam and I have both been propelled in an excitingly fresh direction. In respect to Awesome Hustle, this last week has been one involving brainstorm storming, feedback collection, idea generation and plan formulation. It is going to be amazing, Hustlers.
However, despite me really seriously hoping that I would be back in the Hustle game with a vengeance from March 23rd, it hasn’t all been smooth.
Not many people know this, but the Friday after Awesome Hustle, this Achilles experience finally really actually broke me to the point where I just couldn’t even. After a celebratory brunch with Cam, I went to the doctor because my leg just wasn’t feeling quite right (again). Sure enough, the doctor takes a look, doubles my dose of antibiotics and tells me I have to come back each day so they can closely monitor the healing process.
The thought of potentially having yet another complication was just a bit much for this Hustler. Snap my Achilles once, shame on you. Snap it twice, shame on me. Obtain an infection, shame on some unfortunate external factor. Obtain a second infection – such a shame that I myself actually snap.
I think the universe wanted to push me to breaking point. I mean, don’t get me wrong, the first three events in the saga were bad, but I never felt like I was out of control in terms of my ability to handle it. Last Friday, however? Nah. That’s it. You got me. I’m done.
NB: happy to say things are tracking well now – not fully out of the danger zone – but definitely getting further away with each passing day,
On the Saturday, despite feeling a little average mentally, I went to Adele with my mother. I nearly didn’t attend, as I thought this latest setback might be a test which in order to pass, I’d need to prioritize health over anything else – but in the end – all I could think – was what would Adele do?
She would face that emotion head on. And in order for me to be able to deal with everything? I had to go to her concert.
- ‘Hello/It’s me’ (the infection trying to creep back)
- ‘Never mind, I’ll find/Someone like you’ (sung to my old Achilles tendon)
- ‘I set fire/To the rain’ (taking ownership of the 17,000 tears I had cried on the Friday night)
So, you see, I made a wise decision that allowed me to move deal with my emotions and move forward. They say half the battle is mental – so given the circumstances – I did the right thing. Plus, seeing Adele was one of the best experiences of my life thus far which may seem a little extreme, but if you were there, you’ll know what I’m talking about.
Tuesday last week, I went to see the surgeon so he could check out how the Achilles was tracking.
He was very happy with how the Achilles was healing (he even showed off my range of motion to his colleagues and I sat there doing jazz hands while flexing my foot), however he wasn’t so happy with the skin. That darn skin. He also said I would have to wear a moon boot and be on crutches for another 5 weeks, rather than the two I was expecting. Which is fine. It’s just time. And 4 months in, the concept of time is one thing I’m getting really good at dealing with!
The best part about seeing the surgeon was when he said – ‘you can take off your moon-boot to sleep now’ – and that night I did.
And that night, I also realized what this whole shitty Achilles experience is trying to teach me.
First, it’s trying to teach me to admit to the fact that it has been shitty. See, I’ve been trying so hard to cope, to be fine, to be normal, and at every point it’s been like just give in. Admit it. It’s not ideal. And it’s ok for it to not be ideal. It’s life. It doesn’t mean we have to be any less positive, but it means we have to be ok with being vulnerable. Ok with saying no. Ok with asking for help when we need it. And maybe those are things I needed to work on.
Secondly, this experience has existed simply to teach me gratitude.
You see, taking that clunky moon-boot off, putting my leg under the covers and feeling the sheets against my skin last Tuesday night was everything.
It was all my Christmases. All my summers. All my dreams come true.
And I didn’t even know I missed it.
And therein lies the lesson. Gratitude.
Gratitude for health. For capabilities. For the little things. For being able to do what we can, and for making progress with the things we currently can’t.
Putting my leg under the covers sans moon-boot has changed my entire life perspective.
I wonder if one day, when all is said and done, I’ll actually feel grateful for snapping my Achilles on December 14th. At the moment, it feels like that day is a long way away, but I reckon as these little moments happen more and more, I may well get to that point. Imagine the day where I can wear two shoes. Walk without crutches. Get on a flippin’ dance floor. All these things, I used to take for granted, and now I have all of these exciting milestones ahead of me. I don’t think I’ll ever complain about getting up for an early morning run again.
I’m also excited to announce that with all of my downtime, I’ve been seriously thinking about shaking up the Monday Hustle space. I’ve been working hard to create something that makes sense, a space where I can be of actual value, a space where we we can all feel connected and be authentic and know collectively that we are capable.
So snapping my Achilles definitely has not all been in vain.
I mean, I’m still in a moon boot. I’m still on crutches. I still can’t walk. But mentally? I really do feel back to my normal Hustler self.
Good things are coming.
I can feel it in my bones.
As well as my Achilles tendon.