This post was written before, during and after my hip replacement surgery over the course of two weeks.
Thinking about my never-ending hip pain and upcoming hip surgery has forced me to think about my past, the future and the now. What I realized is that really, all that matters is the now, the today. Living in the present is what’s important. What you did in the past or say you’ll do in the future is unimportant.
This is an easy concept to wrap one’s head around but putting it into practice isn’t always so simple. What I used to do and what I used to be capable of might as well be a million miles away. Accomplishments are great, however once they’re achieved, they do very little aside from providing the confidence in knowing that you have done it before and you can do it again.
There was a time when I could run 6.6 miles in 41 minutes. Now it would take me over an hour to run this distance. There was a time when I could run a mile in 4:30. Again, this is irrelevant. Chances are I’ll never run like I did in the past. Thinking about it does nothing more than detract from the now.
I used to be able to do the splits, elevated off the ground on two chairs, just like Van Damme. Ever see a Chinese kung-fu movie where the hero stands up with his back against a wall, and then lifts his leg straight back until his toes touch the wall? Yep, did that too.
All these things mean absolutely nothing now. If I were still capable of doing these things, this would be admirable. Longevity is admirable. The bad news is you can’t rest on your laurels forever, the good news is the future can be what you want it to be if you put in the time and effort.
I have a host of goals I would like to accomplish in my remaining years, however my most pressing goal is to be fit and healthy. NOW this is my goal. There is part of me that would love to be as fit and healthy as I was in my twenties but this is highly unlikely so again, the now is what is important.
No longer will attempt to look how I used to 25-30 years ago or even 5 years ago. Instead I will simply try to be as fit and healthy as I can now. No longer will kicking, jumping rope or any other high impact exercise be included in my program but fortunately there is more than one way to skin a cat.
The difference between a winner and a loser is often how much one is willing to give of themselves. How willing are you to push yourself to the gym when you are having a bad day? How dedicated are you when you have a busy day and it would be easy to put off exercising until tomorrow? Laziness, sore muscles, or feigned apathy are all excuses and an easy way out.
I know this because there was a time when I was as fit as a professional athlete. Training was something I loved because it did two things for me. First, it made me feel better about myself and second, it gave me confidence around women.
I was younger then but Time and Age have a way of dragging a person from the now into a never ending stroll down Memory Lane and once there, it becomes an uphill struggle to return to the past.
Timeline for Recovery / Goals
As I mentioned, I still have numerous goals I plan to achieve. As Chinese philosopher Laozi stated in the Tao Te Ching, “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” Getting to the hospital was the first step.
March 28 - April 2: Have surgery and in-hospital recuperation. Although I have kicked the coffee habit, I am drinking a cup or two of tea per day.
April 3 - May 16 - Recuperate and get back the use of my leg. Completely kick the coffee habit. Make a concerted effort to cut out junk food, especially Starbucks muffins and pastries. Trips to Starbucks are a thing of the past.
Staples to be removed on the 13th of April.
Start a second YouTube channel.
Drop 5 kilograms (actually, I’ve already achieved this goal).
May 17 - June 16 - begin light exercise; walking, swimming, and freehand exercises such as push-ups, reverse press-ups, and light stretching. Also, being training my kids in boxing. Photograph four cities (one per week) in Thailand to use in a future book.
June 17 - July 16 - try to exercise more rigorously - perhaps with a personal trainer. Continue photographing and traveling around Thailand regularly (one per week).
Compile a current list of editors and magazines to contact with photojournalism ideas for projects outside Thailand.
July 17 - Hit the road for a month, again working on photo book of Thailand.
August / September - Go back to the U.S. and also to Ecuador to take part in a documentary.
This timeline is tentative because anything can happen. But right now, this is the plan. The implant being inserted in my hip will be put in without cement. Instead of the implant being firmly set in place with cement, six to eight weeks are necessary to allow the implant’s stem to graft with the bone.
Five Instead of Twenty-Five
A short time ago I read an article about Warren Buffet’s two list system. You make one list of your most important 25 goals. From these you choose the five most important. For the time being, forget the other 20 items on the list. Of my 5 most important goals, I have achieved two of the five. The first being my hip replacement and the second being getting my kids to the dentist for braces. The hip replacement is done, Alex won’t need braces for another year or two, and Nicholas is now wearing a retainer.
From now until the end of the year, I’ll focus only on the remaining three goals; boost my income by $2000, get my kids their replacement social security cards and passports, start up my LLC, and get my book published using my own publishing company.
Places to Go, Photographs to Shoot
As always, I will be traveling. I am supposed to go to India on April 24 unfortunately until I feel I can walk without pain or soreness, this is on hold. Even when I do go, I will probably only stay for a few days before heading elsewhere…who knows where? The Netherlands, Turkey, maybe the Ukraine, Nepal or Japan? For some strange reason I am getting a strong urge to spend a month in Japan.
One step at a time though - now I am recuperating. The future will come soon enough.