I woke up this morning to a world that tipped and swayed underfoot. I nearly fell through our closet doors on my way to the bathroom, and only managed to stay upright by leaning one shoulder against the wall and groping my way forward.
Vertigo is an infuriating thing. It defies control. No matter how firmly I commanded my body to walk straight ahead, I kept veering to the left, and the room kept spinning. I couldn’t will the dizziness away.
As I sat on the couch, waiting for equilibrium to return, I thought of all the things I was planning to do today. The list that had seemed a burden when I went to bed last night was now a wish. Oh, for the ability to stand upright in the kitchen and try out that new recipe. What a beautiful thing to be able to fold laundry without toppling into the pile! Even my intensive Wednesday workout, which I typically approach with trepidation, was a desirable prospect.
I had a similar perspective shift last fall, when I woke up to a sudden bout of joint pain. The simplest movements, like cutting vegetables or opening a jar of jam, brought pain, stiffness, and more than a little anxiety. What was wrong with me?
When the pain didn’t go away after several days, I saw a doctor. Blood tests showed nothing out of the ordinary, and after several weeks we concluded I was either suffering from a virus, or dealing with food sensitivities.
The month between Thanksgiving and Christmas was a tough one. Physical exertion of any kind left me in pain. I could barely get through the daily essentials, let alone prepare for my favorite holiday. I fought anxiety and depression, worrying about my health and wondering if I would ever feel normal again.
Exercise was probably the thing I missed most, which is laughable considering that it wasn’t a big part of my life before the joint pain. I’d been meaning to get in better shape, planning to make changes. I just hadn’t gotten around to it yet.
And now I couldn’t.
Thankfully, after a few weeks of healthy eating (loads of raw fruits and veggies; no sugar, gluten, or corn; only modest amounts of dairy and grains), my joint pain eased. Apart from the occasional twinge, I feel great. (At least, I did, until this morning.)
As the pain left, my resolve to get healthy remained. I couldn’t forget the nights I’d lain in bed, aching from shoulders to ankles, promising myself I’d never take mobility for granted again. I was determined to keep that promise.
I started exercising again, slowly but consistently.
Fast forward a few weeks. When I woke up this morning on a tilt-a-whirl, my first response was frustration. But now that I’ve had time to reflect, I’m thankful for this (hopefully) short-lived physical challenge. It’s reminded me of how far I’ve come in just a month’s time. My body is healing. I’m getting stronger and leaner. All because I made the decision to do something when I had the opportunity.
My point? Carpe diem, friends. Seize the day. If you want to get in shape, go for a walk today. If you want to write a book, put pen to paper today. If you want to be a better spouse/parent/coworker, show love today. Don’t wait for the perfect plan, mood, or circumstances. There’s no such thing. There’s only today.