Aside from my musings about time travel and causal events, I don't believe that everything happens for a reason. However, I do tend to deconstruct life's events -- seeking purpose and somehow arriving at a place where I've learned an important lesson I might not have learned any other way. Then it seems like it all happened for a reason, and maybe that's the point.
The broken wrist has seriously messed with my mojo. Maybe in a few weeks none of what I am about to write will make sense to me, but this is what I have to say right now.
Although the pain isn't so bad anymore, it made me mean. I have empathy for people who live with chronic pain. Pain changes you. On top of that, the cast makes it hard to do the simplest things. Getting dressed for work is a huge ordeal, and I won't discuss matters of personal hygiene.
But that's all temporary, it's getting better every day and being uncomfortable is not what has caused me to reflect on my approach to life. The real issue for me is that my self-image is wrapped up in being a jock. I was not an athletic child, but I picked up sports in my early 20s as a way to lose weight, and I got hooked on the game, hooked on the endorphins that release in the brain during strenuous exercise. Hooked on the feeling of being fit. Just hooked.
I am the queen of overuse injuries. I once ran a 10K race with no training whatsoever and my knees hurt for years afterward. But I was young, and I recovered. I strained my hip flexors racewalking and followed that up with additional punishment to my knees two years ago. My knees still aren't healed, and the whole reason I took up cycling was to give the knees a rest. I tried to build up slowly -- the smart way -- but eventually pushed too hard, too soon. My knees continued to hurt, but I got a hot new bike with the clip-in-clip-out pedals all the jocks use, and I fell and broke my wrist when I forgot to clip out.
As another woman about my age said to me, "We just don't bounce like we used to."
Some women mourn the loss of youth or beauty, but the fear of losing my athletic prowess is far more devastating to me than wrinkles or age spots. My husband kind of chastised me for my lack of moderation, and in one of my pain-induced rants I said, "Well, that's easy for you to say. You just sit back and judge. You don't push yourself or take risks."
And he said, "Yeah, except I'm 62 years old, I'm still running, and I'm not sidelined with injuries."
That is when it occurred to me that I need to reinvent my self-image. If it bothers me so much to be sidelined, maybe I need to look at what I expect from sports. Stick a knife in the spot that hurts the most, and see what oozes out.
My husband says I'll get over this and go back to being my usual self when I am healed. I hope he's right and that most of me comes back, but part of me needs to stay in retreat. I can still participate in the sports I love, but I have to stop thinking of myself as jockier than thou and shoot for having fun and being fit. I can replace the pedals on my bike, ride in a cart when I play golf and walk without trying to set a new world record. I can get back to swimming when the cast comes off, and I will be just fine.
I won't like it at first, anymore than I like all the other ravages of age. But I think aging is only a ravage if you fail to change and embrace the new versions of yourself that emerge.