A year ago, I had my second ACL reconstruction (other knee, thank goodness) and I set out to make this time around a better experience than the first go of it. First thing I did, fly my mom out to take care of me. It was March in Virginia and she was over the winter so it wasn’t a hard sell. Next thing I did, buy a Fitbit, so I could focus on my progress each day vice what I couldn’t do (trickery works, ask any mother). I bought an ice machine and gave myself a pep talk, you got this.
I attribute all of these things to a much speedier and happier recovery. I also lived at the beach and not in a condo downtown which was helpful when it came to getting out and about. I taught Lily to walk off leash, I walked with my crutches and I made friends with every old man in the neighborhood. Oh, and I found SO MANY AMAZING SEASHELLS because I was always looking down out of fear of falling over. Bonus. My friends all chipped in and helped, they made sure I still made it to sunsets and happy hours.
Over the course of the 6 months or so it took me to recover and to at least begin to jog again, I got to know these men pretty well. Vietnam vets, retired Fire Chiefs, retired business men, world travelers, amazing surfers, all around good guys who loved coffee and Lily.
The other morning before a flight to the east coast I was out for a run. It was later in the day and I ran into Barry. He’s a retired Army Ranger, served multiple tours in Vietnam, has three ex-wives and two daughters. He rides his beach cruiser every morning down the boardwalk and around the bay, he sits at Woody’s and drinks coffee with some locals who have similar routines. He reads, he goes to the Open Bar and eats breakfast burritos. He’s retired and has a great life. He has lived all over and seen a lot. We have great conversations about life, family, travel and beer. I know so much about him and I don’t even know his last name (note to self, ask soon). So when I see him out walking (on his way to get a breakfast burrito) I stop to say hi. We talk for a while and as I am about to take off, I tell him he really has a great life. He replies with, “Life’s a journey kid and it’s worth every second of it.”
This makes me smile for the rest of my run and I make a mental note, he’s right, must ensure I’m grateful for this life I have.