Something happened to me today that I’m still digesting, but it promises to be a heavy weight lifted off my shoulders. After 20 years of regret, someone told me something today that allowed me to let it go.
Many moons ago, I was riding a horse on the last stretch towards home, along a paved road. A nearby sprinkler system fired up, sounding eerily like a hissing snake, and spooked my horse. He proceeded to throw me, resulting in my landing flat onto my hip (and elbow) in the middle of the concrete. Ouch.
In the ensuing circus, my teenaged riding friend dismounted, captured my bolting horse, and came close enough to me that her now-also-freaked-out horse could take a big, splattering pee on the road, up slope from me. Which then proceeded to trickle downhill towards me. I, of course, couldn’t move. Talk about adding insult to injury. Although it sounds like a semi-comical scene in retrospect, at the time it was a hot mess of pain, chaos, and general unpleasantness.
I was in my early 20’s at the time, with no health insurance, and a Colorado-to-Seattle road trip planned with friends just two days away. I had never experienced an injury like this, and thought I was just banged up and sore. So I didn’t seek any form of medical care, and four of us piled in to a car to drive 28 hours straight, through four states. By the time we got there, I was vomiting from the pain.
Actually, before we left one of the guys offered, “I can pop your hip back into place, I do it for my dad all the time.” “No way. You’re not touching me, Dan.” By the time they poured me out of that vehicle I was begging him, in tears, “PLEEEEEASSSE, DAN!!! PLEEEEAAAASSSE POP MY HIP BACK INTO PLACE!!” Yeah. I’m not proud of it. But at least it allowed me to keep up with my friends during our [most excellent adventure] trip.
Fast forward 2 weeks, now I’m back in Colorado… but with a move on the horizon. I need to pack up and move back to South Dakota, so another few weeks are about to pass by without any kind of treatment. And although some of the initial aches have died down, I’m experiencing some pretty serious hip pain. And also I can feel my hip bone sticking out from my body like an inch or two farther on one side. Is that supposed to be like that?
Finally settled back in South Dakota, I sought treatment. But come to find out, it’s not really that straightforward. Why was this not straightforward? Why was this not just a matter of adjusting my hip back into place?
I was told that the muscles had shortened over it in the *wrong* place, and that now even after being adjusted correctly – the muscles were pulling it back out. Long story short, I’ve struggled with this injury ever since. I have had pain, and sought continual and varied treatment on and off, for nearly 20 years.
Hence, my hip injury has become the bane of my adult existence. I describe the “getting bucked off a horse” incident, and specifically my lack of seeking prompt treatment, as one of the biggest regrets in my entire life. I have always assumed, and never been told differently, that had I gone to a doctor right away… I would be walking around with a normal hip, and no pain.
Today, when I told my sad tale to a chiropractor and he looked me in the eye and said, “You need to stop beating yourself up over that. You could have sought immediate treatment after that happened, and it may not have made any difference to the outcome. Some injuries just affect people for life.”
Is it crazy that I found this to be a huge relief? My pain and limitations from this are NOT my fault. Simple as that. It happened. I don’t need to continue to regret and blame myself for the course of actions I took afterwards. I’ve been literally blaming myself for the pain I have. For years. And now I’m done!
As someone who’s good at carrying around a lot of guilt (close cousin of regret), I found this extremely liberating. But why did I need one person, in one conversation today, 20 years later, to tell me something that allowed me to let go of this regret? Really? That guy? My regret wasn’t serving any purpose anyway. Eeeesh. Light bulb.
So if there’s anything you are truly regretting in life, something that continues to bother you… can you maybe let it go? What is your regret actually accomplishing? Probably nothing at all.
And since I feel kind of bad that you just read this entire, non-funny, semi-boring blog post, I’ll leave you with one cute thing that happened at the chiro office. I overheard this conversation between the office girl and an elderly gentleman scheduling an appointment at the counter:
“Will Friday the 26th work?”
“Well, I’ll probably be DRUNK! It’s my 85th birthday!”
*o* *o* *o*