Shattered But Still Whole

“Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t— you’re right.”  ~Henry Ford

Over my years as a Physical Therapist, I’ve been fortunate to work with some of the most courageous and resilient people on the planet.  From homeowners who’ve fallen off ladders, to athletes injured in the sport they love, to those born with disabilities, to patients recuperating after surgery, I’ve witnessed the power of the human spirit to triumph over adversity.  Initially, many of my clients felt disheartened, resentful, or even helpless about their physical situation.  Their bodies were hurting, and they couldn’t do the things they once could do with ease.  But eventually, most of them realized they had a choice.  They could remain bitter and defeated or they could decide that their imperfections did not define them.  They could work hard over time and improve to the degree physically possible, or they could half-heartedly go through the motions of rehabilitation. Time and time again, I saw amazing people whose bodies were shattered decide that they were still whole.

Less inspiring perhaps, but far more common, is the story of all of us who notice that our body and activity levels are changing through the natural aging process.  Simply put, we aren’t what we used to be!  But we have a choice as well.  We can ignore the call to get up off the sofa, or we can find an activity that engages us so we can manage our aches and pains more effectively and prevent further decline.  No longer able to run a marathon?  What about walking a half-marathon relay with friends?  No longer able to play tennis?  What about swimming or Pilates?  For each of us, the challenge is to create that balance between finding a way to keep ourselves active and healthy, while honoring our imperfections and limitations.  Resetting our fitness goals, moving forward to be all we can be, and finding new contentment in our efforts can make us feel energized and in love with life again. 

“You may not control all the events that happen to you, but you can decide not to be reduced by them.”   ~ Maya Angelou, Letter to My Daughter

Being grateful for what we have, what our bodies are capable of doing during each stage of life, no matter our imperfections, and continually setting new goals, are keys to being fully awake and fully alive.  And even one small change can make a world of difference.  Is there one small change you’re willing to make?

Keep growing, keep setting new goals, and keep a grateful heart for the life you’ve been given!

As Published in Town & Gown Magazine, November 2017