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Eye on the Prize

2010/01/02

It’s that time of the year when people send out cards and letters, catching people up on their lives and taking a few moments to reflect on the past in the process. I am just as guilty as the next person when it comes to that kind of thing. But this year I’m taking a slightly different route.

This year, I’m looking to the future.

People do this all the time. People who aren’t me. I’ve had to spend much of my energy dealing with the present, and merely hoping for the future. But things are different now. I am different now.

First of all, I’m hoping to begin a long, painful, powerful and intensive process of physical reconstruction. Injury and generally pushing my body beyond its limits for a very long time has taken its toll. First up, my evaluation for total knee replacement surgery. My right knee was damaged in an accident when I was fourteen, and because of growth plate damage it never properly formed and I’ve spent a lot of years and surgeries keeping it working.

Total knee replacement is the only thing left to do, but thanks to the insurance industry I’ve had to wait a long time to meet their criteria for approval. There are still a few hurdles to make it over to get that far, but that’s the heart of the the changes. After that’s done, there’s the damage clean-up to the good knee, and finally some work on my poor feet. For more than twenty years I have not known a world without pain, and for more than ten I haven’t known a single day without it. Even if I only get one day a month without the pain, it will be worth all the trouble.

I am now faced with a chance to do things I’ve had to leave behind for years, and the prospect of a life without so much pain is almost too good to believe. Just being able to get down on the floor to play with the kids without needing the Corps of Engineers to get back up feels like a pipe dream. I might be able to do more than take a drive in the mountains again, without risking the chance of having to be rescued when I take a fall. And something as mundane as being able to take my mother shopping without spending an entire day recovering from the time on my feet could be a reality again.

So, after gathering up all the photos for creating  a year in review album to share with family and friends, I took a few moments to see a vision of my future. And as scary as it all is, I have to admit that I really like what I see.

This has gotten me thinking about the way I’ve been living my life until now. Always my mind on where I was, and never on where I was going; the anti-thesis of the admonition Master Yoda gave to a young Luke Skywalker. Proving once again that everything in moderation is really the way to go. Never taking the time to look forward is just as bad as always looking back. In some ways, it might even be worse. You do and say things in the moment, that you don’t always think about the consequences of them. And I hope that this realization is enough to help me continue to grow intellectually this year, just as much as the physical transformation.

Going forward, I now know that I need to use the lessons of the past, live my life every single day without regret, and always keep an eye on the future to know where I’m going.  And may each of you have a happy and transforming new year as well.

FYI – That year in review album I mentioned.

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