Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

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June 8, 2014

06/08/2014 — Lee Ward: Get on the good foot

ASHLAND — “Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well-preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside in a cloud of smoke, thoroughly used up, totally worn out and loudly proclaiming ‘Wow! What a Ride!’”

— Hunter S. Thompson

Year-round, I’m complaining about my right foot.

Several years ago, I was at a public pool relaxing, doing a little yoga to soothe the oncoming bunion. I pulled my big toe to pressure it into the position it should’ve been in when I heard a couple of popping sounds. The next day, I nearly hit the ceiling after stepping down on that foot that, turns out, contained two broken bones.

It was difficult to diagnose. So difficult, in fact, that it wasn’t diagnosed until six months later, too late for me to get a permanent fix.

Years later, my foot hurts when I walk too much or I’m on my feet too much or when the weather changes somehow (I haven’t figured out what’s happening there). There’s nothing that can be done, doctors say. I healed wrong. There are a few things that can make it feel better, but no real fix.

So I gripe frequently about the discomfort.

It occurred to me recently, as I was thinking about my foot, that life is about accumulating injuries.

We weren’t put on Earth to maintain our bodies in perfect condition. That’s not even possible. Our bodies are here for us to use, to navigate life with, to accomplish things with and to enjoy life with.

That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t take care of our bodies. No, part of the task of using our bodies to live life is to take care of ourselves as best we can, but we must accept the concept that, as we live, we accumulate injuries. We inflict wear and tear. Even the bodies of the most careful and hesitant participants in life wear out, so why not get in there and enjoy it as much as possible?

I’m afraid I tend to abuse my body, even when I mean well. My foot injury is a perfect example. I’m sure I won’t stop complaining about it — seriously, sometimes it hurts! But even while I’m griping, I know in the back of my mind that at least I’m living life.

LEE WARD can be reached at lward@dailyindependent.com or (606) 326-2661.

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