On Goalsetting

There’s this really annoying thing that happens when you spend most of your life in Physical Therapy instead of dance classes and after-school sports.

Your life is determined by goals (and the predicament is even worse if you’re in Special Education).

I still remember most of my long term PT goals, mainly because I haven’t achieved them. Most of them started as a 4-week goal, then got moved to an 8-week goal, then 16 weeks, etc.

I’m convinced that wherever my pediatrics records have ended up there’s a list in my file of “Bucket List Goals;” and “getting up off the floor using a half kneel” would be somewhere on that list, if not at the top of it.

It’s something I can’t do, still, it’s not on my goal list, I don’t think it ever was to be honest. I tried it a few months ago at my PTs request but when my protests were accompanied by pain it went back to “the never ever” list.

I used to hate goals. They didn’t seem like something to accomplish rather something to do because someone else said so, like standardized testing.

I started to set goals for myself after my last surgery. I needed to, before I went crazy. I went from being fairly independent to needing help with something as simple as putting on a shoe in less than 5 minutes. I needed to give myself a reason to get out of bed (or sometimes get in bed) that was dictated by me only.

The 1st time I set foot in a gym we talked about goals. The big ones were obvious, I was there to learn to walk again (since insurance had cut off my PT) and smaller ones were mentioned, like getting on the Stairmaster for 30 seconds and not want to die at the end, but I kept my personal goals to myself for a while.

I found one worthy enough to be shared (as in I knew people wouldn’t think I was insane) but the training for it ended up being something I couldn’t do; in fact, it may have contributed to my nagging injuries.

When I went back to PT I had one goal. Fix my hip and get the hell out of there and back to the gym.

I started swimming again while going to PT 3 times a week. As frustrating as I found PT I found my return to the pool to be even more frustrating. My brain knew what to do and so did my body but somehow I was struggling to get from one side of the pool to the other without feeling like I was on the verge of drowning.

I started to incorporate my swim goals into PT, unofficially, especially after I joined a team. “How did your swim go?” is always answered by a list of wishful improvements.

I voiced the physical goals but kept the mental ones to myself, because mentally I am my own worst enemy so those are best kept to me, myself, and I (at least for now).

I found an Inst@gram post that pretty much sums up how I feel about not only swimming but goals in general which says, “Swimming is the most mentally challenging thing I’ve ever done – and I love it.”TheAwesomeSwimmer

I hate setting goals because I fear I won’t ever achieve them, especially goals I’ve set for myself, but once I’ve achieved it I feel good, and wonder what the crap I was so freaked out about in the 1st place.

Although I hate setting goals I’m at a point when I can’t help but do it and I have to say it’s pretty awesome, at least when it’s done well. For a long time, I was afraid to set any goals just in case they ended up being too big.

In reality I didn’t want to discern whether they were really achievable at all, maybe I wasn’t able to, even if I wanted to.

It’s OK to have goals, even really big seemingly unachievable ones. The thing to remember, and in my case recognize, is that most of the time you can, and probably need to, set up smaller goals on the path to the bigger goal.

I may never have been a fan of setting goals but I’m learning to appreciate their true purpose.

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Tales From A Late Adopter

You know how some people claim to be early adopters?

Well, I’m not, except for maybe blogging, and F@cebook, and neither of those were totally my decision.

My 1st computer was over 7 years old when I decided to get a new one. It was supposed to have Wi-Fi capability when I bought it but I don’t think it really did.

I’m still on my 1st smart phone, which needed to be replaced years ago, and didn’t even know what a podcast was until after attending my 1st CNMC (an ignorance I have since more than made up for). Oh and I still try and build websites in HTML whenever I can get away with it.

And it takes me roughly and hour to make a minute long video that I can just barely stomach watching.

My 2nd computer had Wi-Fi capability but I didn’t actually get Wi-Fi for a few years afterwards, and even then I didn’t use it unless I was in a Wi-Fi only location.

If I’m anything, I’m a reluctant adopter.

So when my computer, my 2nd one, died a quick, yet horrible, death a few weeks ago I just about when bat crap crazy. (1) I’ve never had a computer completely die on me before and (2) I had class starting in a matter of weeks, I had to make a decision, and fast.

It’s really really rare that I wish I was in a relationship but this was one of those times, if for no other reason than I’d have someone capable of making such decisions for me and then getting me settled without causing me stress.

Thankfully I had everything backed up, which I’ve never done before but won’t ever skip that step again, so that was one thing I didn’t have to worry about. But in my rush I didn’t do my usual vetting process.

And while I was waiting for news on my computer I went so over my data limit on my phone that I couldn’t even add any additional data to my plan. I had a big “no” symbol in my notifications for days.

I hadn’t kept up on the software upgrades on my tablet for so long that it took days to get that taken care of before I could even use it effectively.

My new computer didn’t come with office already installed. I realized that in the store but knew I had two product codes at home, so why bother. Well the joke’s on me because now that I need one I can’t find either one of them anywhere.

It also doesn’t have a disk (or rather CD) drive so when I went to look for one I got a little freaked out. How would I install anything?

Also the power button is on the side instead of near the keyboard. Once I found it I wondered what team of people thought it would be a great idea to put a power button so easily accessible to anything. I’ve lost track of the number of times I’ve turned it off without meaning to.

Although I’m a reluctant adopter I hesitate to call in any outside help for anything. I don’t read directions and although I typically purchase additional tech support I rarely, if ever, call them.

I made more calls to set up this computer than I have ever. It makes me feel defeated in a way, because I hate asking for help, especially when it’s something many people easily master. But stress and a tight timeline won out, at least this time.

One of the biggest reasons why I am a late adopter is because I don’t like having to work out the little bugs that come with the 1st generation of so many products. So I usually wait and keep my ear to the ground before making any major purchase.

Until my motherboard dies, then it’s time to run to the store before having a nervous breakdown, because who can live without a computer these days?

I went with the “upgraded” version of what use to be very much the other half of my brain, which is lying closed up in an old dusty box like a technological casket, because I didn’t have the time, or the patience to figure out something new (and I still spend hours on the phone with various tech support people).

Am I happy with it? No. But it probably has more to do with a rushed purchase rather than an unsatisfactory product.

Now my next task? To upgrade my phone and maybe use the gm@il account I created for myself a few months ago.

I need to do something before all of my devices are on the verge of another technological breakdown, and maybe do a better job at keeping up with the rest of the planet.

Why I: Don’t Suggest Giving Up Social Media For Lent

There are certain things I can count on as Lent approaches. Without a doubt, “What are you giving up for Lent?” is the most popular question to ask and/or be asked.

Now that social media has become such an important part of our lives it’s natural to consider whether or not to give it up for 40 days. I have several friends who engage in this practice, problem is most of them don’t use social media that much anyway. So is it really that sacrificial or are they really getting any benefit from it?

A point worth considering, but not the one I wanted to make right now.

As I write this there’s a snowstorm outside (I’m a write ahead & schedule blogging type). In fact at one point it was snowing so hard that it was snowing sideways. Thus my plans for the day have been canceled and I’m attempting to stay occupied indoors. In a way it’s going to make the point of this post much more poignant, at least I hope so.

The internet, and social media, has opened up everyone’s world. What I don’t think a lot of people realize is just how much it’s opened up the world for those with disabilities.

I wouldn’t be friends with many people if it weren’t for the internet, or at least I wouldn’t be as good of friends with people if things didn’t start on the internet. Let’s just say as an introvert with a disability it’s nice to get the “getting to know you” stuff out of the way when you only get to see people in person a few times in your entire life.

I can’t forget to mention Sara. If there’s anyone who taught me that just because you have physical limits doesn’t mean you can’t create solid friendships and an intentional community. Our friendship may have been short but it left me forever changed.

I don’t suggest giving up social media for Lent for one quasi-simple reason:

You may be part of someone’s community, and it may be the only community they have access to (especially in the winter months).

Giving up your social media routine for 40 days may seem like a good idea and in some ways it can be beneficial but if you do consider who you’ll be leaving behind for 40 days.

Here are some thoughts to consider:

How much can happen in 40 days?

Also consider your group of friends, do they also give something(s) up for Lent?

Do you all give up the same thing for Lent? If so, do you still have that same sense of community because you have other ways of keeping in contact or are you able to see each other in person?

Do you have one friend (or maybe more) that seems uncomfortable with your plan for a 40 day social media fast?

Have you ever stopped and really considered why someone is resistant to give up social media (especially if you “only” know them virtually)?

Lenten sacrifices are meant to make you a better person, but not at the expense of other people. If your sacrifice is harmful to someone else than are you really working towards a greater communion with the Body of Christ?

Alternatives to consider:

Cut back on your social media practices. Check in once a day or once a week.

Post the same thing on all of your social media accounts (idea borrowed from Pat Padley FYI).

Keep community connected through email or text, or an old fashioned phone call.

Make your intentions known early on, as in before today, so if any of your friends have reservations or objections you can engage in thoughtful conversation.

Have a way to contact you on your social media profiles and make it easy to find. Have you ever received an “out of office reply” with a contact email or number included? Like that.

I’m not saying that you absolutely shouldn’t give up social media for Lent.

I’m not God, Jesus, or the Holy Spirit so I can’t say such things with absolute conviction. But I wish people wouldn’t make the decision as easily as they seem to. Virtual community isn’t the same as in person community but it’s still a community that needs nurturing, attention, and people to take part in it.

Why I: Feel Bad For Kylie Jenner

I’m sure by now you’ve heard about Kylie Jenner’s controversial photo shoot, if for no other reason than it’s taken me so long to write this post it’s been everywhere and back by now (and maybe forgotten about by now).

I know people are mad about it, a few have taken a more positive view on it.

I seem to have a slightly different point of view.

I feel bad for Kylie Jenner, something I’m not typically known to do under many circumstances.

I read that Kylie used a wheelchair to symbolize how she feel trapped by fame.

I feel bad that she’s been so sheltered to things all while living a very public life that has led her to believe that a wheelchair, and by extension disability, is something that traps people.

Having a disability isn’t awesome all the time. I have to adapt every time I leave the house, and even in my house. People take things for granted every day that I need to make living life day in and day out possible. But disability isn’t as confining and restrictive as people think.

Without my disability I would be a different person. I would have different opportunities, I can’t say if my life would be better or worse, but at the same time I wouldn’t have my life any other way than what I have now.

My parents fought for years for me to have a wheelchair, with no success. I had to rely on being pushed in an oversized stroller; that was purchased out of pocket, to get around. When that didn’t work anymore I relied on ill-fitting hand me downs from friends, sometimes even from strangers.

Once that ran its course I lived a smaller life. The internet wasn’t as popular then so I didn’t have a community to be a part of. I would sit at home and watch hours of TV and hope that someone would invite me out to somewhere I could actually go without physical repercussions and thinking though every detail before saying yes.

I wasn’t an invalid, but some people might think that’s what I was, or what I was going to become.

When I finally received my own wheelchair, one that fit me, one that I helped build, one I dreamed of having for most of my life I felt anything but trapped.

I felt freedom.

I have freedom, in large part due to my wheelchair.

A wheelchair isn’t tragic, nor is it a prop, or a symbol or a restricted life.

I feel bad for Kylie Jenner because she has a large platform, yet a restricted point of view.

She’s surrounded by people who are just as misinformed (or maybe they’re outright ableist, I can’t say for sure) as she is.

This whole Kylie in a wheelchair controversy just highlights, yet again, the misconceptions of the disability community and just how ableist our society actually is.

We are not broken people who are held back by our disabilities. Instead we are held back by people’s perceptions of what living with a disability actually looks like.

Restrictions come from perceptions held by society as a whole, not whether someone goes through life on legs or wheels.