Embracing the Fundamentals

Pretty much all our lives, we’re set on moving onward and upward, as they say. We advance from infant-care products and toys, to toddler ones, to youth ones and so on. Especially at that age, most kids despise the thought of going back to baby stuff, all too eager to explore what’s higher up on the rung.

Even though age sometimes makes us appreciate those simple pleasures, that drive to progress sticks with us. Some climb up the corporate ladder, while others pursue different endeavors, like raising a family. Regardless, we appreciate however we reached our status, but if we have to return to those building blocks for any reason, we grapple with a sense of disappointment, even shame.

I’ve encountered this during the past few months. I have Cerebral Palsy, and though I’ve accepted that I won’t outgrow it, I thought I’d never have to revert to certain things after I began walking when I was fourteen. Because of the pandemic, though, my activity has been limited, and I couldn’t keep up my normal routine, such as walking at my local recreational center. Like most people’s, my only laps consisted of my journeys between the couch, desk, and bed.

I’ve felt fine, but as I reintegrate into society, I’ve noticed the aftermath of my physical hiatus. I’ve taken a few tumbles and observed the extra effort my parents have had to exert to assist me. These signs of my relapse discouraged me, but they’ve also opened my eyes to the impact of the fundamentals—even the ones I greatly dislike.

Foremost of those is standing in place. Now, I realize that sounds ludicrous to able-bodied people, but trust me when I say I’d much rather walk a hundred meters than stand still for five minutes. My spasticity coupled with my lack of balance makes it very difficult, but for the sake of my progression, my dad built me an upright wooden frame to stand in as a kid. They, along with my therapist, used to call it my “princess tower,” but no cutesy nickname could make the experience pleasant in my estimation. I used to count down the milliseconds until they’d say I was done.

Nonetheless, the exercise contributed to my advancement, and I’ve had to force myself to resort to standing in five-minute increments again…sans the torture tower! My folks and I have seen a change for the better in my balance and posture. I’ve also retreated to other fundamentals, upping my stretching habits and now that I’m able to get to the rec again, walking a single lap instead of my usual two so that I can build up my stamina and strength.

In truth, I’ve always considered it defeat if I don’t improve, much less regress. These past few months, however, have retrained my outlook. I now accept the fact that life doesn’t always allow you to keep riding up an elevator without ever returning to a lower floor. Just because you accomplish something doesn’t mean you can leave everything that propelled you there below you for good.

Circumstances beyond our control happen and might send us down a level or two, but we don’t have to remain there. We just need to take advantage of whatever that level offered us and use it to get back to where we were. And once we make it, we should revisit those floors from time to time in order to keep progressing.

Whether you’re disabled like me or not, everybody has one challenge or another that is a daily part of his/her life. You’re bound to take a step backward once in a while, forcing you to redo something that you didn’t expect to repeat. But don’t be ashamed or resent the basic fundamentals. Rather, embrace them, knowing what they once brought to your journey and what they can bring again. 

Also See

The Highs, the Lows, and the Crummy Plateaus

A Proper View of Progress

My Story

5 thoughts on “Embracing the Fundamentals

  1. Wonderful attitude, and encouragement for all of us. At times we all need to take a step back and notice where we came from, so we can continue forward. Thanks for you for your insight.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Love your honest account, and for the inspiration you’re giving, Karina. Never knew about the challenges that standing in place could pose, and it’s an important message for all of us that no matter what we’re facing, it’s up to us to stay our unique courses. Thanks for this post!

    Liked by 1 person

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