I am a horseback rider. I have been stepped on, dragged, fallen on, bucked off, simply left behind, and many other things contributed by a variety of horses. I even flew once. Most spectacular of all my falls. I wish I had it on camera, I really do. It must have been something to see. Before that I was a gymnast. I, like many athletes, have put my body through the ringer. I had old injuries by the time I was ten. I’ve had numerous black eyes, most of which were caused by some horse related event. The only bone I’ve ever broken (well official bone, knock on wood that it remains that way) was broken at a horse show (on the merry-go-round, but that’s another story).
Growing up at the barn, it seemed your horse related injuries were almost considered bragging rights. I remember the older girls comparing bruises, trying to decide whose was better. I even read a book where the riders would have a parade of injuries to see whose was the best. I myself was fiercely proud of the injuries that I had acquired. Would brag about the fact that I had so many old injuries, as if having them by the time I was ten made me more worldly. I even remember telling someone with a hint of pride in my voice that I would likely have back problems when I was older from all the times I’d fallen off.
Now, at 25, I know better. I suffer from lower back pain, shoulder pain that is only controlled by daily physical therapy, and have had to have extensive chiropractic work to literally put my skull back on straight. Falling off a horse is hell on your skeletal alignments. Perhaps having the old injuries did make me more worldly, showed that even by such a young age I had already done so much with my life.
I have a friend who tells me that life is about having stories to tell on your deathbed. Well, I will have plenty of those. A broken rib from what was most likely whooping cough during my junior year of high school that predicts the weather. A ten inch scar on my leg from surgery as a child that hardly anyone ever notices. A broken wrist from falling off my pony. And now, at 25, I know that I have paid dearly for my worldly ways, and will continue to do so.
No pain, no gain. That’s what my best friend used to tell me, and I for one plan on having a whole series of novels to tell when I’m on my deathbed. Cheers to the pain and the gain yet to come. May I survive it literally in one piece.