There goes a saying, “Life is not about how many times you fall down. It’s about how many times you get back up.” Credit well known educator Jaime Escalante for said quote. If the name does not trigger recognition, think the 1988 film Stand and Deliver. Or, read about him at biography.com.
Essentially the falling down serves as a metaphor for life’s setbacks, whether that means getting passed over for a promotion at work or needing to overcome an inherit disadvantage. Yet when applied to life with cerebral palsy (CP), the metaphor can become literal.
Let me demonstrate with a story from earlier this month. I participated in The Diversity Center of Northeast Ohio’s 13th annual Walk Rock & Run event in downtown Cleveland. The event features a three-mile walk and a 5k run.
As a belated birthday celebration I invited out friends to complete the three-mile walk with me. Using deductive reasoning you could probably figure out what happened. Shortly before reaching the halfway mark I hear my friend go “Ste-.” Too late! I crashed to the pavement.
Naturally I resumed a vertical base, collected myself, and continued on. After all, “Life is not about how many times you fall down. It’s about how many times you get back up.” Reaction to my fall amused me. I heard a few “Are you alright?” from concerned strangers. Then last week a friend who couldn’t make the walk goes “I’m sorry you fell. That sucks.”
While I appreciate the concern, I must repeat such reactions tend to amuse me. Hey, I’m used to falling. Sure I’m not falling daily or anything but falls will happen. When they do, I’m most likely to make the situation into a joke. Take the Walk Rock & Run event for instance.
During the last mile-and-a-half plus my friends took turns calling out “Step” every time we encountered one, not to mention “pole” or other inanimate objects you might find walking a downtown area. I believe “Hot Rod” Mike Rodriguez started this, a name familiar to Off Balanced readers.
Those who know me or follow me regularly could expect the humorous response. I will happily laugh at my cerebral palsy because consider the alternative, embracing a woe-me attitude. No thank you!
Admittedly my adrenaline kicks in immediately following a fall, helping me turn the moment into a comedic one. The challenge can come the next day with negative emotions singing a tempting siren song. For example the day after the Walk Rock & Run event I woke up my knees pretty sore. Rather than letting myself feel down, I adapted to my body’s condition.
So no exercises in hands and knees position basically. Adapting to care for you proves more productive than cursing cerebral palsy because in the end, the CP stays. Bottom line to get back up after you fall albeit a metaphorical or literal spill taps into another concept, focusing on what you can control. Keep focus on what you can control and you will notice getting back up become second nature. Now go forth my lovely readers, endure the falls life places on your path, and get back up by focusing on what you can control.