When I was 19 years old, I tore my Achilles tendon playing tennis.
When it snapped, it sounded like a gunshot.
(Are you cringing yet?)
The crutches were actually the most painful part. For two weeks, my armpits were tender and bruised and, most times, I preferred crawling to get to where I needed to go. But after 4 months, my armpits were calloused, rugged and powerful!
I got so used to blazing past people on my worn-out crutches (I became quite talented with those sticks) that I almost forgot that one day I would have to learn how to walk on two feet again.
Finally, that day came. And that day was scary. I feared that if I took a step, my Achilles would snap again.
So I cried. And I stalled. But after much coaxing from my physical therapist, I finally drifted to the middle of the therapy pool and gingerly took a step.
Though I was weightless in the water, it was hard work getting to the other end of the pool. But when I made it, I felt like how a baby must feel after successfully tottering from the coffee table to the couch.
A few weeks later, I was walking on a treadmill…at a speed of 0.8 miles an hour. And even that felt too fast!
Two months later, I could slowly jog. A month later, I could walk down stairs one foot after the other. Four months later, I could skip. (Yes, 19-year-olds like to know that they can still skip.)
As much of a hassle the whole experience was, it taught me to appreciate the privilege (and convenience!) of having two fully-functioning legs.
Therefore, I park in the furthest space and walk instead of drive whenever possible.
Because I CAN!