As the year 2017 draws to an end, I pause to reflect and contemplate on what goals have been accomplished throughout this year that I had initially set out to achieve. So many events have transpired including some challenges, setbacks, and disappointments. At the same time, so much has been gained including new relationships, insights, and experiences. What valuable life lessons has this year taught me? What should I be grateful for at this time?
My mind flashes back to the morning of February 25th, 2017 as my life was changed in a matter of an instant that day. I am standing in the middle of a large football field with a group of fellow Krav Maga (Israeli self-defense) school students as we all try to get through our grueling 6-hour test. We already finished the first half of the test by the time it happened. The instructor is calling out the defense move I am supposed to show the knowledge of in front of everyone – instructors, other students, friends and family spectators. We are being graded on technique, verbals, and aggressiveness. It is fairly simple – a choke from the back with the pull, the move I had done multiple times in the past and even practiced with my husband the day before the test. I know it by heart – address immediate danger by plucking at the hands of “the attacker” (my partner) who is squeezing my neck, turn and follow up with some kicks and punches, then quickly disengage. However, as I start to turn, I hear a loud snap, a cracking noise which I will later realize is my right leg bone breaking and shattering in multiple places. I fall on the ground involuntary, as my leg gives out from under me. My foot snaps to the right and wouldn’t be fixed into place until that evening during the hospital emergency first surgery. I don’t feel any pain in the midst of an adrenaline rush caused by the incessant stress and fatigue drills during the test. I even pause and smile for a picture my husband takes of me that gets posted on FB later that day and gets a ton of likes and get well wishes. I am being picked up and carried to our car to be taken to urgent care and then a nearby hospital. This is all just a beginning…
What follows later is a several months long ordeal – a freakish nightmare of not being able to move around, stand, walk, take care of myself and my most basic needs, emotional and physical pain, troubled marriage and family life due to never ending stress of long recovery and financial instability, scary side effects of and withdrawals from opioids and a ultimately, finally, a long awaited and exciting flurry of firsts – first steps with crutches, first time I am able to walk up and down the stairs instead of crawling, first time I am allowed to drive a car, and just recently, first time I run a mile in 10 months.
So, what have I learned from this rollercoaster of experience and how do I move forward? What goals and resolutions should I set for the upcoming year? Is it even worth setting them when you truly don’t know what might happen any given moment of your life? Or should I just coast along and see where my life takes me with no expectations whatsoever?
For me personally, I still believe in setting goals. My two main goals for this year didn’t get accomplished, both due to the double leg fracture sustained on the misty grass of that football field during my Krav Maga test on February 25th, 2017, the day I would never forget. I didn’t get my black belt that I have been practicing for in the last 7 years, never mind the dedication and passion I pursued it with. I didn’t pass that test since I broke my leg right in the middle of it. Neither did I get pregnant with a second child through IVF (in-vitro fertilization) procedure this year. The frozen embryo cycle had to be canceled even though I was already taking some hormones and had my calendar schedule for the embryo transfer, tests, and ultrasounds. It was absolutely devastating to me. Everything I worked so hard for had to be put on a long-term hold because of my serious injury and health concerns. I didn’t know where to turn and who or what to blame for this misfortune. I felt alone, scared and isolated all those months in bed. I didn’t know if any of my dreams would ever come true. For a while, I even stopped dreaming and hoping as I wallowed in self-pity. I finally decided to continue with the same two goals into the new year of 2018 and not let anything deter me or stand in my way. I want to be a better version of myself, to persevere despite all odds.
As one of my many great doctors told me: “Let go of the past as you can’t change it. Don’t worry about the future as you can’t predict and control it. Live in the present, be grateful for and enjoy simple things”. But what does it all really mean?
I guess, for me, it’s being able to walk without a limp, get through a gym spin class without too much pain, the ability to come back to my Krav Maga self defense classes first week of January after the new year when the school reopens and continue my pursuit of the black belt because it is something that means a lot to me, something to strive for and be a part of again. I feel that I am finally ready to take the next step and I feel both excited and terrified inside.
Whatever it is that you haven’t been able to accomplish this year, don’t give up on it. If it’s important to you and you still want to attain it, write it down, put it somewhere you can see it every morning as you get ready for the rest of the day, visualize it as you listen to your favorite music or personal development podcasts and go for it with a 110% effort in 2018. Make it the year you achieve your goals and get to where you are going, no matter what. New year, new beginnings. Let’s do it together, my friends. Here is to a Happy and Healthy New Year, 2018. I can’t wait to see where it takes us.