So, here I am on day 18, or maybe it’s day 19. Sunday 2nd to Thursday 20th – what’s that? [Counts on his fingers] 19 days sober. Go me. Well except I’m not going very far, very quickly. Why’s that Chris? I’ll explain…
On Monday, I awoke after a mere five hours of sleep. I had a guest staying in my spare room who clattered into the flat, drunk, on Sunday night, and having woken me up, I struggled to get back to sleep. At 6am I cut my losses and went for a run on the beach. Despite my lack of Zzz’s I was buzzing with energy, and after comfortably running 3.5 lengths of the kilometre long sand, I enjoyed a dip in the cool ocean as sun rose into the sky. I even finished with a bit of a sprint before heading back home to prepare for a day at the office. I felt on top of the world, albeit down under.
This is what I have learnt repeatedly about life, that when things seem to be going well, enjoy it, folks, be grateful and bask in the glory of good fortune, because it’s only a matter of time before something comes along to derail that train of comfort. I didn’t have to wait long for the proverbial kick to balls. About twelve hours in this instance.
On Monday night I played tennis with a mate after work. It was hot on Monday, really fucking hot. And humid. I felt knackered as we hit the ball back and forth. The combination of a lack of sleep, early morning cardio, a full day in the office, and the temperature conditions had sapped my energy. Thirty minutes into the game, as I reached for a backhand, my left foot planted, my leg carried on. The result was a snapping sound I’ve heard a few times before in that ankle, accompanied by a crunch, which I’ve not heard before. As I slumped to the ground with a wail of anguish, the familiar pain of a sprained ligament washed over me. I cried a bit as I dug my forehead into the surface of the tennis court, my hand holding my damaged foot. The pain was bad, the emotion of frustration was worse.
I wrecked this same ankle two years ago playing football, it took a full year to recover normal function. I didn’t play football for a year. Running on the sand was painful for a long time, swimming in the ocean was unsafe in the presence of strong currents, certain yoga moves that involved bending the foot were off limits. Long story short – it was a pain in the arse. So to be told in A&E that I’d done the ligament, and also pulled a slither of bone off the outside of the fibula was dismaying to say the least.
Sure, it’s frustrating. Sure, it’s inconvenient. But, here’s the thing: whilst I may be physically injured – mentally, I’m totally fine. This is just part of life. Yes, it’s going to be a pain to get the health back in that limb, but I’ve done it before, and I’ll do it again. Yes, it’s going to be a hindrance on my driving and hiking holiday in New Zealand in 8 days time, but I’m going to be seeing an amazing country and spending time with the bundle of fun that is my little sister. There is nothing worth complaining about. This is what the stoics are talking about. They’re on to something.
I’ve whined on about this a bit here, but I’m not looking for any sympathy. I have no use for it, it’s only an ankle injury after all, but the point ties back to the alcohol thing. The last 19 days without it have been a breeze, I haven’t missed it in the slightest. If anything it’s made me realise how great life can be, with or without it. I spent the last two days at home doing very little but reading, watching TV and eating healthy food, in an attempt to speed up my recovery. Robbed of human interaction and physical exercise – the two things that make me tick the absolute most, I came to the realisation that I could be pretty content doing little to nothing, sat on my balcony eating hard boiled eggs, smothered in turmeric.
I say all that, but I woke up this morning and had had enough of my own company. I dusted off the crutches and headed into work. Need me some people. Plus I’d run out of dark chocolate.
As we approach the most festive period of the festive period, please take time to rest yourselves. When we don’t prioritise rest, we make mistakes, and we get hurt, physically and mentally. Our society places so much emphasis on the ‘get up and go‘ mentality. The opposite is just as important, but so often overlooked. Now is the time to put your feet up (if you can). Do not let Christmas burn you out.
Merry Christmas everyone x