What do you wish you knew when you were 22?

A young friend of mine recently graduated from college.

The family of the graduate has invited us all to sign a lovely book for her.

The question we’ve been asked to answer in the book is:
What do you wish you knew, when you were 22?

I’ve been thinking, and thinking… and finally I got an idea:

I’ll share not just my ideas – but invite yours as well!

(All you have to do is reply here , and let me know what you wish you knew when you were 22. I’ll copy and paste and print our collective wisdom for my friend : )

What do I wish I knew when I was 22?

I wish I knew that we could look for loopholes.

I used to take it as law, when an authority figure said “no.”
But now, I realize that’s not true!
A no can always become a yes. It depends on how much I’m willing to push for my yes.

For me, it’s also depended on the kind of support I get.
One example is from about a decade ago, when I first developed the tendon disorder that I still live with, and lost the ability to walk.

The doctors and physical therapists I worked with early on basically threw up their hands. “We’ve done all we can here,” they told me. “We’re worried about you, but we don’t know where else to go with this problem.”

Time passed.

That February my parents came to visit from Colorado. They were shocked when they found me unable to walk more than a few steps. They found me with my leg so emaciated that my muscles were concave instead of convex.

My parents were horrified, but unlike me they had not given up hope.
No doctor had implied to them “she’ll never walk again.”

So, they started looking for a loophole. They went back to Colorado and spoke with their friend Vince, a former physical therapist who now volunteers in Breckenridge, working with disabled skiers.

This is a guy who won’t take no for an answer.

He didn’t in my case either… Soon after talking with Vince, my parents called me and said “our friend thinks you should go see a sports medicine doctor.”

Ben was grateful too, because like my parents he had not given up hope. But he couldn’t convince me on his own that I should go try something different. He added his voice to the chorus of people who thought I should try again, this time with a sports medicine doctor.

Boy, was that hard.

It meant opening my heart up to the possibility that there was in fact hope.
I had been finding it much easier to live closed off. Yet here were my parents and my husband, informing me that I couldn’t live like that anymore.

Long story short, it worked! The sports medicine doctor created such a safe space that I poured my whole story out to him, complete with tears. (I’m crying now, remembering how good it felt to be truly heard and seen.)

Not only that. The sports medicine doctor put me in touch with a physical therapist who knew what to do with me. Knew how to make me better.

Within two weeks the pain was gone.

About three months after starting with the new physical therapy, I balanced on my own two legs, with no support from a cane, another person, a wall, the handles of my wheelchair, or anything.

And 18 months later – more than two years after the onset of the problems – I could walk, I could hike, and I could ski!

And so, to my dear 22-year-old friend, I say to you:

Always look for loopholes.

Cheers and thanks for reading –
Karen

PS What advice do you have for my 22-year-old, newly graduated friend?

Simply reply here by answering the question, “What do you wish you knew when you were 22?”

It can be long, or it can be short. You can include stories, or simply good wishes. I know my friend will appreciate your input.
So do I <3

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