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Wednesday, Aug 15, 2018
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You're only as lame as your excuses

It happened to me about this same time last year. I was under the knife, facing another two to three months of recovery. This time, though, I was prepared. For my knee surgery, I went in with a strategy in hand, goals in mind and with more self-compassion in my heart than usual. And so far, I've come out stronger — physically and emotionally.
As I flash back to last August when I had my gallbladder removed, I remember I was sad, frustrated and filled with self-pity. For those 10 weeks, I didn't do much of anything. A conversation with my CrossFit trainer, Roy Taylor, made me reexamine my approach. And after 10 days, this time around, I was in the gym. On crutches. I'd like to tell you I was graceful, but I was darn awkward. And easily exhausted. Taylor told me to look at the world and my training as: "How can I live this life? How can I make it fun? Enjoyable? And stay healthy?" The irony hit me like a kettlebell upside the head. I'd been asking why: "Why do I have to deal with this?" "Why is being consistent so hard?" "Why can't I do an unassisted pullup?" Instead, my paradigm shifted to how: "How can I still get my endorphins and let my knee heal?" "How can I get stronger?" "How can I still fit in yoga without putting pressure on my kneecap?" Last year, I whined about not being able to run, do much yoga or lift weights. This year, I told my physical therapist that as soon as I had his permission, I'd hit the pool. And I have. Before, I would've lamented about not being able to exercise my chubbier-than-I'd-like legs. But I've seen this summer as an opportunity to strengthen my arms and abs. And let me tell you, my pull-ups and tricep dips have progressed tremendously after hauling myself around on crutches, strengthening my arms consistently. Most of all, I've accepted what is for the moment. Not what should be, could be or wish it was. The trap of self-despair and frustration is easy to fall into if you don't prepare yourself. "Better keep yourself clean and bright; you are the window through which you must see the world," George Bernard Shaw once wrote. I always loved the quote, but I didn't really understand it until now. Seeing the world from this new perspective has freed me. It gives me permission to accept my imperfect self with both good knees and bad knees; with one half-marathon under my belt and maybe none, or maybe more, ahead. However strong, weak or injured I am, I've given myself the chance to learn and grow from it — not get mad about it. The shift of accepting this process has pushed the progression of my knee's recovery. But that's just an added perk.

Daniela Velázquez is a multimedia maven at TBO.com. Her yoga column appears every other Saturday in 4you. She can be reached at [email protected] Catch up on past columns at TBO.com, Keyword: Yoga.

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