This time last summer I was in a dark place, exercising four hours every day and still not seeing the results I wanted. My imagined life as a disabled person stretched before me unwanted. Two years, I told myself. If, in two years, I can't stand this anymore, I will jump off a bridge. In tears once again when my husband arrived home from work, I followed him into our sunny garden to talk.
"What I've been trying to figure out," I told him, "is why I was willing to work hard at a job for 11 years to make things better, but I am so quick to give up on myself."
"Why do you think that is?"
"Because at my job, there was the promise of something better – a raise, a promotion. But now, I'm working so hard just to get back to where I was."
"It sounds like you haven't accepted what's happened," he said. "You're not trying to get back to where you were. You're trying to move forward from the day you had the stroke."
So long as I focused on what I used to be or what I wanted to be, I could not be happy now. I had to realize that exercising like a maniac was not going to get me "there" any faster. I had to find ways to enjoy my life now and balance that with rehabilitation.
I used to equate acceptance with giving up. Now I see it as a gateway to happiness.