This past weekend I was allowed to do a trial run after a strict 20 day moratorium on any running. I have been rehabbing a pinched nerve that brought tears streaming down my face (literally) when I ran. (I also could not run with the concussion) This temporary ban on running made me crawl out of my skin. Being compliant with my physical therapist’s orders was really hard. But I tried to focus on long term goals and being pain-free completely. It pained me, however, to do what I was told. I went out for my run so nervous–I prayed for a good run. I focused on the sun and wind and chill in the air. I was so grateful to be outside. I managed a short, slow run with no pain. And I thought “Wow, look at what compliance does!! It works!! Go figure!”
I’m sort of a stubborn, headstrong person with my own ideas and ways of doing things. I have always done things my way. I don’t follow protocols or expectations well. Take running for example–through time I managed to make my long runs 13 miles by doing it my way. I didn’t follow any of the advice trainers or magazines or real runners gave me. I don’t do any hill work. I don’t increase my mileage by 10%. I don’t do fartlek drills. I just went out and ran in a way that resonated with me, that felt right to me. And I pushed through aches and pains while ignoring all the sound advice that others follow.
So it got me thinking–where is the balance between compliance and doing things your own way? I would never have gotten to where I am with running if I followed all that advice. I got here by doing it my way. But I also would not be running today if I did not comply with my physical therapist’s orders. When do I stop being stubborn and start listening to the advice of others? I chuckled that it has taken me almost 40 years to finally be compliant.
And then it occurred to me that my sweet daughter is just like me in this way also, which you know makes parenting her so hard. She isn’t necessarily non-compliant. But rather, she needs to do things her own way, to learn how to do things, and to learn what doesn’t work. She needs to go through the process of her own trial and error to learn the lesson.
You’ve read that I always wanted to save her from herself. I wanted her to bypass this process so she wouldn’t have to feel the hurts when her way of doing things results in failures and pain. Then I got to the point where I accepted with resignation that she will have to go through these mistakes on her terms. Today I realized I was still wrong. All my failures and stumbles through doing things my way have in fact been glorious and fabulous and intense. They haven’t been mistakes after all. They’ve been wonderful moments of learning and loving and living that make up the fabric of my being and my life. I don’t want to take that experience away from my daughter.