I remember a time when I didn’t care what I ate. A time when I didn’t brush my teeth, I didn’t cut my hair and a time when I cried as I thought of what my future would be like.
I am grateful now to look back at that time in my life and reflect from a position that allows me to be excited about the future. Though it also encourages me to echo and inspect the journey of how I got to the headspace I am in now and examine the different processes and experiences that lead me to today.
I started this piece by saying, ‘I remember a time when I didn’t care what I ate, I didn’t brush my teeth etc.’ because that’s what triggered my thoughts on why I was acting this way. This period was between 3 months to 10 months after I was injured, and obviously, a time when a lot had changed and I was transitioning through many stages of my recovery. From being medically stable in hospital (no complications) to leaving hospital (environment I felt safe/comfortable but hated), living on the Gold Coast and trying to adapt to being in a wheelchair to then returning to Newcastle (an environment where I could no longer do a lot of the things I used to do).
When I think about my actions at that time it’s not surprising that they all had implications that would affect my future, because firstly when you’re not happy in the present you look to the future for hope and the future I saw wasn’t the future that I had always dreamt of and secondly, I was focusing on what it used to look like and not what I could make it.
From always being a person that would get my hair cut once every 2 weeks, brush my teeth 3 times a day and eat an extremely healthy diet to being a person that didn’t care about my image, the effect not my brushing my teeth had or my diet it showed that I was not investing in the future. It wasn’t until I recognised what I was doing that I realised that my actions were reflecting my thoughts. At this time in many aspects of my life, I was working so hard to improve physically but I didn’t have any balance for other areas, I wasn’t the Alex I’ve always been.
In my situation, there were many things I couldn’t control but making these simple little changes like eating healthier and brushing my teeth was. From that day on I made a commitment to myself to invest in my future. To this day, I continue to make conscious decisions with my future in mind, whether it’s doing a mental health education course or exercising it has made a great effect on my ability to enjoy the journey of change. I understand that I’ll make mistakes but that’s life.
I believe that it’s in the moments of decision that your life is transformed, with my actions on something as simple as brushing my teeth, cutting my hair, making a real commitment to my rehab not just turning up and going through the motions I transformed my view of the future.
Yes, there is still uncertainty but I can only control what I can control.
I reflect on my actions now because I want help people, I genuinely believe that we are all on a very similar journey and even though the scale of the situation may be different there are lessons and ways to be learnt on how different people manage and overcome their challenges. Whether it’s a relationship break up, fertility complications, issue at work or a Spinal Cord Injury I honestly believe we can all help one another by sharing experiences.
I challenge you to make that personal investment for the future now, it may be a haircut or setting some time aside to go do a yoga class, though it may only be a small action it will allow you to embrace the future and enjoy the present.
You are important.