This long overdue post is not really about my birthday. I tend to forget about them and lately find myself wondering about what I have YET to accomplish as another year goes by. The truth is I have been in survival mode for years and each year brings a new set of. . .well I guess i’ll call them challenges. One can also call them obstacles or hiccups. Further one can go more negative and refer to them as trials and tribulations , or disabling life circumstances. None of these is inherently wrong and there is overlap between all of them. However one of the ways I have survived while at times thriving is by attitude and gratitude and by not trending towards the negative.
I will admit that these past few months have been some of my darkest in years and I fully realized that I was leaning towards going more negative than I generally like to. I always feel grateful but as my pain issues affected my activity and ability to work in new ways my attitude has turned to crap. I say all the time that motivation and inspiration is all around us and despite my pain and limitations I tend to find it. This past weekend however in the midst of my own darkness I was able to exchange a few text words with someone who is newly spinally fused. These days are also dark for different reasons than having lived with two fusions for over 15 years. At this point in my life I KNOW what i am still capable of and of what i have been able to accomplish with spinal fusions and all the other musculoskeletal sequelae that have developed over the years. After chatting with this gentleman and thinking back on when I was 4 months post op (both times) I quickly remembered why I started Metal Parts Life.
My entire goal with the project was not to sell shirts or caps but to create a symbol that represented hope and create some inspiration for injured, reconstructed, older, surgically repaired people. I always thought my way to inspire was through sports and competition and by being able to do things that I should not be able to. However I forget often that it is also about managing the pain and limitations while maintaining relationships, working, living life in all the other ways we are supposed to. This man’s concern rightfully so was about healing enough just to get back to work which I have no doubts he will. It just takes a mindset that calls for more toughness than most people believe they have.
I found the spark I needed in this recent exchange and hope that I can again create some momentum for myself and then for others.