Life is not about dwelling or craving change. Embracing life is about being the best I can possibly be right now.

Recovery defined means to return to something.  Deep within, I do not want to return to what was. Retrospective thinking means missing out on the moment that is now; a moment untouched, full of potential.

From longing to never see another sunrise to embracing all that comes on the trail my life takes, one stride at a time, I move towards accepting that I will never recover to who I was before my Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI). Somedays I feel resilient, progressing beautifully. Other days, delving into fantasy about life long past and things that I have no power to change, a beautiful mess.

The art of life is to be found in acceptance. Enduring the self that I cling to creates misery. I will never be the same person I was before my TBI yet the craving relentlessly persists. From moment to moment, day to day, year to year, on the trail that is life, growth, aging,  intellectual development, and experiences tend to go unnoticed. When the trail of life gets blown into the eye of a storm accepting what feels like catastrophe can feel impossible. Comparing myself to who I was before the storm hit is a losing proposition. It is far too easy to compare what I tend to see as the worst in myself today to the brightest days long past. Time allows for the storm to settle. Time on from my accident and out of clinical settings, adapting to the ways my TBI has changed me, I have become more in tune with impermanence, perspective and gratitude for the good grown from adversity. Recovering to the person I was is not growth.

Humans are a diverse crew each with unique perspective for which I respect all. From my perspective, one snapshot never tells the whole story. The recent #10YearChallenge has millions of people looking back and posting a photo from a decade ago alongside a recent image on social media. Something about this trend caught my eye. Reflective captions of a decade of growth in gratitude, compassion nor the habits of mind appear to be trending along with the seemingly polished pictures. My mind drifts onto clouds of empathic wonder. Ten years ago, ten months or days ago, I was me then and I am me now. Articulating change in a decade takes more than a social media caption. Though a concept I often struggle with, I sincerely hope anyone posting such comparisons has self-compassion enough to recognize they were good enough then and are good enough now.

Embarking on a trail of comparison, littered with questions of worth, I will never find an end. There are infinite categories upon which I could compare myself then and now. Life is not about dwelling or craving change. Embracing life is about being the best I can possibly be right now. Though I have lost nearly 70% of my eyesight and appear physically different than I used to and different than what society deems normal, I resist the temptation to crave its return. Confronting weakness develops character. I aim to keep working on my art, my character. One day, I will stop hiding behind sunglasses accepting myself wholeheartedly. A resilient  character is one I want in my story. Content will not come as a result of getting something I do not have, rather by recognizing and appreciating what I do have. When focused on the narrowness of lack, I widen my view, shift my focus, see the abundance in my life, the many things minute and massive to be grateful for .

With deliberate effort, when I focus on what I have, not falls on my trail or what harshly stares back at me in the mirror, gratitude is cultivated. I have gratitude for growth as a human. Looking back 10 years ago, no thank you. I will not let my past define my future. My future is what I choose to become. I will never be precisely the same person I was before my accident, I will be better.

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  1. Kellie MacKenzie says:

    I think you have given us all something to think about. 10 years past, would we want to go back and do things differently or live in the moment we are now. Self acceptance isn’t easy on the best of days. Thank you for putting it into perspective for me at least and giving me something to mull over! As always enjoyed reading what you have to say!

    • mountainsofmymind says:

      Thank you for reading and for your cheers Kellie. I agree that acceptance is not easy however it certainly can be an energy saver that can light up life’s trail.
      May you continue to shine brightly.
      Much love my friend x

  2. Tom Stevens says:

    Perfect timing. I will print out my friend Jill’s latest post and hang it on my wall. I too live alone in this world and it’s easy for me to withdraw and compare what I was and all I have lost as I age. A recent health issue has me on an extremely restrictive diet. Even many healthy foods I was used to are off-limits. However, I’m still able to run or bike each day, write and read and have some adventures. I was feeling sorry for myself until I read Jill’s post, but I have vowed to reset my course on being the best I can be and living in the moment. Thanks for being you, Jill.

    • mountainsofmymind says:

      Thank you Tom!
      I am thankful you found a connection in my post and too that you are able to find your rest button, letting go of that which cannot be changed. Worry and frustration can certainly feel like roadblocks that only inhibit us from enjoying all the good on life’s trail.
      May you continue to find the good in every moment and enjoy it.
      Be well Tom.