Learning From Recovery

Learning from recovery, a month to the day since my cycling crash in Ride London 100. I have discovered new aspects of life, and have had time to reflect on my journey. I’m very conscious that my diary could become a ‘poor me’ or ‘aren’t I tough?’ It’s neither of those; I find myself in a place of deep learning.

As an aside, the featured image is my ‘nanokorobi yaoki’ tattoo during completion. ‘Seven times fall, eight times rise.’ That has been through my mind a few times in the last month.

The experience I’m having is opening up new doors in my subconscious; it’s helping me understand more of my place in the universe. How I might look at my present and future differently. If I had to pick one word that encapsulates the last month, it would be ‘liberating’. It sounds odd that a month of intense pain, together with domestic and professional disruption, would be freeing. But that’s my strong feeling.

Anyway, to the title. What am I learning from recovery?

Your Friends

You find out who your friends are. Cliched but true. I have been overwhelmed by the number of people who have supported me, whether that be messages, sending gifts, or physically showing up to see how I am. It’s not a fake humility. I’m a low self-esteem person who has convinced himself since childhood that the world doesn’t care about him. Wrong.

People from my life from today, five years, ten years, twenty years and thirty years ago emerged to express support and offer help. I had people I don’t know that well send me the most touching messages, expressing the impact I have in the sport community. People I didn’t know at all contacted me to wish me well.

I have a flaw where I focus on the handful of people who badmouth me. I tend to let those voices, those people projecting their own shit on to me, rent too much space in my mind. The reality is much different, I represent positivity for many people. I have a lot of friends, some I wasn’t aware of, who love and support me. I have some detractors. The balance of the numbers in each camp sends me a clear message.

Examining Life

Learning from recovery has been profound. It’s not a handful of cliched soundbites I trot out to satisfy myself or others. I have re-examined several aspects of my life. It’s possibly driven by me slowing down and having time to reflect. Being in the first serious accident of my life also brings to fore thoughts that any of us can be here one moment, and gone the next.

I don’t subscribe to this “live every day as though it’s your last” superficial stuff. That would be tiring of itself. I do understand now that slowing down, taking a step back and looking at my life has made me revaluate what I want. Life is never as good as we want it to be. Life isn’t designed to be fair.

Yet we can always look to extract more from any adversity in our life. Easy for someone in the cheap seats to say “well it’s ok for him, he’s had it lucky.” More of us than we think. experience negative events in life, but a good percentage make it through. To some extent, we can make our own luck.

I wouldn’t say live every day as though it’s my last. I would say try to learn something about yourself or the world every day, however small. Try to give something back to someone every day.

Learning from recovery has seen me re-examine aspects of my llfe and resolve to double down on some and jettison others. Also to step into new areas, or finally start to look at new spaces to explore.

There’s a wildcard thought percolating deep in my mind. What about spirituality and religion? I don’t believe in a God. Yet I feel there’s a deeply spiritual environment just beyond our grasp and trying to access that could be important. There’s a fascinating examination.

Enjoy Yourself

My accident starkly illustrated something I already know. I’ve got somewhere between 15 and 2o years to live. That doesn’t account for serious disease such as cancer, or walking dead illnesses such as dementia, or acute events such as me entering Ride London 100 2030.

A sliver of time left. But a long time too. I’m going to give it a shot and explore social, spiritual, learning, travelling opportunities. I decline to take things too seriously. Some things in life I can partly control, yet many times more things I can’t control. So why worry?

I’ve been planning for a while and am winding that up more. After working for fifty years, I fully expect work will send me to the bench in the not too distant future. That’s a big change, half a century of routine gone. I would like to do some work in the area of mental health awareness, helping others. Maintain my interest in fitness and wellness and learn more. I’ve got a couple of travel itches to scratch, and a couple of epic cycling journeys to tackle.

Whether I die today or when I’m one hundred years old, my long simmering intent to enjoy life has been turned into an action oriented approach. Just do it, and most of all, enjoy it.

What Have I Missed?

My learning from recovery has surfaced a lot of positive emotions and thoughts and that’s a blessing. It has engaged me more with all the communities in my life. More zest, more buzz, even when hurting.

What have I missed out on? The denial, anger, bargaining, depression, acceptance cycle hasn’t laid a glove on me. I can watch the video of my crash and not get angry or depressed or cursing my luck. Decades of riding and only one crash of note, I’ll take those odds.

I don’t feel I have PTSD related to the event, even though a number of medics have suggested it’s an almost certain side effect. Perhaps resolving earlier life trauma has enabled me to cope.

I haven’t missed out on anything, good or bad. I have seen new opportunities open up before me. That’s my learning from recovery – don’t let adversity take you to a dark place, turn the tables on adversity.

Learning From Recovery – Another Recovery Diary Complete

There’s my latest in my Recovery Diaries series. Exciting times. I had my one month check up today too and most things are going well. I have some blood in my left lung and need to careful. My collarbone may need resetting at some stage. But all good. Life is good.

1 thought on “Learning From Recovery”

  1. I am happy so you are in this particular head space. We can be too David Goggins for our own good but by reading your blog shows me you have found strength in being gentle with yourself. Defo see progress made and keep the good movement be it fast be it slow the puzzle is falling into place.
    Sending you love and light


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