Life Lessons in Unexpected Places

I loved the movie Galaxy Quest.

 

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I loved it in all its cheesy glory. I mean, we all know what it wasn’t, right? It wasn’t exquisite art or high drama. It wasn’t an Academy Award contender. It was quite unashamedly escapist entertainment.

Every cliche, every nod to some other sci-fi production, they all generated that warm fuzzy nostalgia. It was supposed to make you feel good, to laugh. But could there be something more hiding within?

Never give up, never surrender.

That’s been my mantra for the last few years. I finally got the surgery I needed for an on the job injury. So now I’m sitting at home with my left arm in a sling, off of work for a few months, and about to dive into what is sure to be an excruciating course of physical therapy. With voice to text and the WordPress app on my tablet I may never type again.

Quick word of advice. If you are about to have surgery on a joint like a shoulder or knee, take the pain meds. Take them around the clock. Don’t try and be a tough guy. Do what the doctor says, even set an alarm for the middle of the night. Trust me on this one.

But this was a fight every step of the way. Ultimately one I couldn’t fight all on my own, I had to hire an attorney. I did question myself all along. Was I doing the right thing? Why did I have to fight so hard for treatment that was so obviously necessary? Was there something I wasn’t seeing?

Sometimes life throws situations at us for a reason. Sometimes we are supposed to struggle because we are supposed to learn something.

There were lots of points where I could have walked away. And that is exactly what the companies opposing me wanted, because it would mean they didn’t have to spend money and fulfill their obligations. They worked very hard to try and convince me that my pain and my injury were not worthy of their consideration. They marginalized and minimized me.

Giving up would have meant a lifetime of pain and increasingly restricted physical abilities for me. That’s not high drama or exaggeration. After being injured my activity level, my ability to enjoy my hobbies gradually degraded. I went from being an active person who gardened and exercised to one who sat around most of the time. I gained weight. I became depressed. For the first time in my life I could not exercise or physical therapy my way out of an injury.

I did a lot of soul-searching and did a lot of meditation. I realized I had a choice. I could give up. I could walk away. That was certainly the easiest path at least in the short-term. At several points along the way my obstacles seemed almost insurmountable. My challenge, my lesson was to overcome those obstacles and take that harder path.

I refused to compromise on my quality of life. I fought for me because nobody else would. When I had exhausted all the options I could see I had to know when to ask for help. I won’t deny there was a certain gritty satisfaction in shoving all their marginalizing and minimalizing bullshit right back in their faces.

It was not an easy lesson. But it was a valuable one. It’s also one that is still evolving, but I am already stronger for it.

Never give up, never surrender. Not on yourself. Not on your dreams.

What have you had to fight for? When have you had to overcome insurmountable odds?