One Step at a Time

“A journey of a thousand miles begins
with a single step.”
Lao Tzu

One step at a time.  That’s what it’s been, literally and figuratively, as I recover from the surgery in early December.  It was just over a week ago that I was given the clearance to stop wearing the walking boot; I was delighted.  Not only had the boot become burdensome, but it was, all too often, the focus of conversations – “What happened to you?” “I remember when I had one.”  How do you shower with that thing on?”  It was frustrating.  I understood the purpose of the boot; to support the healing process, and assure that I took things one step at a time. But the boot was also a blow to my ego; it slowed me down.  I walked with a distinct limp.  It made me hear the old man knocking at the door.  Perhaps that’s why I went to the gym almost daily, and worked out as best I could.  I’d be damned if I was going to let the old man in.  I wanted to move faster; to move about freely as I had done before, but for now it was one step at a time! 

The boot was replaced with an ankle brace that fits snugly, and over which I can wear a shoe.  I was still frustrated, the boot was gone, but the limp remained.  I quickly came to the realization that it wasn’t the boot that was slowing me down, it was simply the nature of the injury and the recovery process that must be followed; the need to take things one step at a time.  Like so many other things in life, there are no shortcuts.  It would be a deliberate plan (laid out by the physical therapist) that would enable me to not only rehabilitate, but hopefully strengthen my performance at a later date.

Life was never designed to be easy.  Be it rehabilitating an injury, pursuing a difficult endeavor, repairing a relationship or completing what seems to be an impossible challenge, the phrase  “One step at a time.”, provides direction.  It serves to encourage us to break down a large or overwhelming task into smaller, more manageable steps.  My injury, at this later point in my life, has brought practical meaning to this phrase.

This injury has provided numerous opportunities for reflection.  I’ve come to better understand that the good things in my life, the successes I enjoyed in my career, didn’t just happen.  They were the product of a series of planned steps; a process one might say, and that process was deliberate in nature, with one thing leading to another.  If anything, I’ve learned to have respect for the process.  Quick fixes, shortcuts and short-term thinking don’t work.  One needs to simply take things, one step at a time.

Embrace the Challenge