I’ve always told people that straight roads don’t make good drivers. Why? Because, in the context of life, a straight road is an illusion, it doesn’t exist. While this analogy may sound overly dramatic, I’ve always held it in great regards. I hardwired this belief into me, because I knew there will be times when I would have no choice but to display resilience and think about long-term success over short-term satisfaction. My resilience was on show the minute I ruptured my anterior cruciate ligament playing football. The anterior cruciate ligament runs through the middle of the knee, providing rotational stability to the joint. My foot got stuck in the mud when I went to change direction, as a result, there was a twist with excessive force, and I heard a loud pop. I was on the floor in agony, and had to be carried off the field. I couldn’t walk but out of pure resilience and emotional adrenaline, I drove myself to the hospital. I had an MRI and it confirmed what I had feared the most (see my MRI scan below). ACL injuries are so dreaded because of the lengthy process is takes to come back from them (minimum 6-9 months of hard work for a full recovery).
I was feeling a whirlwind of emotions, and all I could think about was how I was at the peak of my football, ready to represent a division 1 team in a State Cup tournament; and achieving good things in the gym, as well as my PhD. I had reached an unexpected turn. For several days, you could say, I was stuck at that turn. I was constantly worried about how I was going to handle the weight of doing a PhD, coming to terms with not being able to play, being unable to walk and how my knee may never be the same…the train of thought just kept getting darker and darker.
After some much-needed time and reflection, I had accepted what had happened, and knew what I needed to do to keep moving forward. Staying stuck at that turn wasn’t an option (hardwired). Struggling on crutches and in constant pain, I still came in to do my PhD, and I still trained at the gym (upper body, of course). I took the steps to get the reconstruction surgery and educate myself on what I needed to do to come back better and stronger.
Straight roads don’t make good drivers… so, when you come at an unexpected turn, take some time to reflect, and invest on what you need to do to continue your journey. You will always be better for it.