THE older I get, the more I’m beginning to realise that when it comes to life…
You need to be a bit like a rubber ball.
To deal with being thrown around. To handle being knocked off your feet. To launch yourself at your dreams and when you miss, to throw yourself at them, again.
It’s all about bouncing back, isn’t it?
When it comes to this funny thing called life.
Yesterday I was having a brilliant work day. The kind of day when everything was going to plan. I was powering through stuff that I needed to do, I was in that lovely, elusive state ‘of flow’ and I’d even managed to schedule in a couple of spare hours to work on Elsie’s bedroom.
After finishing off my emails and feeling like I’d get life well and truly sussed for a Tuesday, I went to stand up and then bam.
My back went.
For about the third time over the past 12 months.
It hurt. A lot. I tried to hobble but could barely move. I think I even screamed a bit when the pain got really bad. However the agonising pain, wasn’t the worst of it.
No, that would be the frustration, anger and self pity that swamped me almost immediately.
I don’t know if you’ve ever had a bad back or experienced debilitating back pain, but if you haven’t, well, it’s pretty grim to say the least.
The pain is one thing, but it’s the lack of movement and the length of time it takes to get better, which is what I find to be the hardest thing in terms of dealing with it.
Bouts of back pain can take weeks, sometimes months to really improve, as many of you will no doubt know.
So anyway, there I was, crouched over, in agony, crying a bit, feeling very much ‘woe is me’ and utterly miserable when I suddenly had a thought, that changed everything.
And it went a little like this.
“Yep, it hurts but come on now woman! You’ve been here before, worse than this and you got over it.”
I got over it.
Or in other words, just like a rubber ball, I bounced back.
As soon as I heard those wise, wise words, something in my attitude to the ‘problem’ shifted straight away. Sure the pain was still there, but that victim mentality that I’d just wallowed in for a while, had gone.
And I got to grips with dealing with the situation instead.
I rang my husband to come home so he could pick Elsie up from nursery. I forced myself to walk around a bit, took some painkillers and grabbed a ‘treat your own bad back’ book that I’d bought yonks ago, but hadn’t yet read.
Later, I began some of the emergency exercises recommended in the book and – here’s the main thing – I refused, like absolutely refused to feel sorry for myself.
Bouncing back isn’t always an easy thing to do granted. There was a time in my late teens, when I didn’t even want to bounce back. Couldn’t even bear the thought of it.
And sometimes, wallowing in our pain or anguish, is what we need to do. It is nicer, kinder and much more agreeable.
But at some point, when we’re ready, after life has sent us flying, we have no choice but to bounce back up, with a spring in our step.
No choice but to tackle things as best as we can, deal with a situation or just accept what has happened.
Resilience is a muscle we must all flex from time to time. And the funny thing is of course, that just like when you’re regularly working out on physical muscles, the more you flex it, the stronger it becomes.
And thank goodness for that!
Because life isn’t all a sweet, sweet bed of roses.
There are days which are just awful. And so many bloody horrible things happen to all of us at some point, which we may believe, wrongly – at the time – that we will never survive.
And yet somehow we do.
When your chips are down, when you back is playing up or when you are lost in grief or despair, these are the things that pull us through.
Today, I am sat here writing this post, actually thrilled to be up out of bed, dressed and managing to walk around.
In a minute, I’m going to get off my bouncing bottom and crack on with my back exercises again, which have already worked a treat. I’m gonna pop a couple of tablets, put the kettle on, make a drink and then get back to work.
I’m not bouncing off the walls with happiness just yet. And neither has the pain gone away.
But I am bouncing.
I am smiling. And I am holding two fingers up to the problem.
Which are – when it comes to life’s upheavals – really, the only things any of us can do.