Last week, I graduated from physical therapy after attending weekly sessions for almost a whole year. Starting physical therapy at the beginning of year 27 was something I could’ve never imagined, let alone a whole year of it. It all started when I was a young whippersnapper, living in Lousiville, Kentucky. I was driving home to Jackson, TN, and Memphis, TN to celebrate my 24th birthday with friends and family. As I was driving the scenic highway 65 South, I kept feeling like I just couldn’t catch my breath. To fast forward, this continued for like 3 weeks. I couldn’t even celebrate my birthday that year. I went to the doctor numerous times before they finally did a CT scan and discovered I had pneumonia. I spent about 3 weeks on bedrest. My friends and family were sending me “Get Well Soon” gifts. If you know me, you know I like to get up and go, so this was a struggle. Once I finished 2 rounds of antibiotics, a few inhalers and steroids, it still wasn’t an easy walk back into life. Not being able to breathe took its toll on me mentally and physically. Let me just tell you, not being able to breathe will send some catastrophic vibes through you. For the next few years, I dealt with chest pain, a moving rib, sore chest wall muscles and more. It was rough… Finally, I saw an orthopedic doctor at Vanderbilt who whipped me into shape, and I graduated a year later just before my 28th bday! After this situation in 2013, I learned just how much each breath means. I started looking for lessons in every area of my life, and I’m always eager to share. Without further ado, I am giving you a few lessons you might already know, but need to relearn!
While I was in physical therapy, I thought to myself countless times that the small exercises weren’t going to fix me. I’d been dealing with the symptoms for so long that I thought there was no hope. I would cry to Alex, my husband, saying, “I hate that pneumonia ruined my life!” However, I kept going and month by month, I just kept getting stronger. I’d do my exercises at home and go back and shock my Physical Therapist at how strong I had gotten. Each week I set a goal. Some weeks, I was weaker. Some weeks, she’d say, “you’re getting close to discharge.” Then, I’d do an exercise wrong and we’d have to work my muscles out all over again. It was a process. It required patience. The small movements made my big moment- PT graduation! What lasted 4 years was being corrected in 1 year in baby steps.
2. You Are Not Obligated To Share Your World on Social Media
If you follow me on social media, you probably never heard of my pneumonia tale or many other horrific things that have happened in my life. Some people get mad at you for only sharing good things on social media, but I believe in highlighting my the best moments. When I was sick, I enjoyed seeing my friends and family on social media living their best lives! Those who knew my situation knew it personally. I lived vicariously through their best lives. Perhaps wishing people posted more bad stuff isn’t the answer. Perhaps, learning how to appreciate people’s good is necessary.
3. Trusting and Hustling
Whatever life you lead, there will be moments when you feel like you haven’t done enough or you should have done things differently. Just know that there is a time to hustle and a time to simply trust God. There are people who wish they had the capabilities to do what you’ve done. Be grateful for your talents and learn when to rest. Trust me, he has it under control. When I was on bed rest, all I could do was trust God’s plan. There was no hustling to be done.
4. It’s Not Where You Go. It’s Who You’re With
When I moved to Louisville, I moved for what I thought would be a great opportunity and the money! However, I learned fast that these material things carried no weight. It is not where you go. It is who you are with. Special people in your life bring about memories and laughs for the ages! Being away from that changes your world. My 23-year-old self-began going to events in Louisville by myself. I needed to find my tribe. To this day, my Lou girls are some of my biggest inspirations. They came to my wedding!
5. Participating in Confusion Gets You Nowhere.
Rather with friends or in the workplace or amongst family, being the root of disarray will get you nowhere. Delivering the components to confusion (gossip) only come back to haunt all involved. You’ll find yourself searching for within for some solace or reasoning. While it may be hard, try to let it go. And if you need to figure out an answer, deliver the facts and be ready to have difficult conversations. My mom always said, “Pretty is as pretty does.” And if it’s cut-off season, that’s okay too! Sometimes, we could all use a deliberate break.
6. Just Because You’re Not Featured Doesn’t Mean You Are Not Favored.
I was scrolling my Facebook feed one day when I came across this message. I started pitching to different blogs for guest writing opportunities years ago. I knew I needed to continue growing my portfolio. I got a lot of no’s and one yes. Yandy Smith, from Love & Hip Hop, has a blog called EverythingGirlsLove.com! The year was 2013 and I was on bedrest and I got my 1st published gig on her site. It was a prelude to many publishing opportunities to come. I wholeheartedly believe that I am favored. The feature will come in due time and it’ll feel like graduating from physical therapy!
I originally wanted to share 27 lessons I learned in 27, but that just doesn’t tell the whole story. Therefore, six is what you get! I am continually learning and relearning. We all are. Remember to take baby steps and give yourself a pat on the back. You are doing the best you can wherever you are. If you’ve got your health and strength, you have enough.