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Sometimes shit just happens....

Sometimes, despite the best efforts of mice and men, shit just happens. A pessimist will tell you it’s a sign, an optimist will always look for the silver lining and I like to think I am the latter. Coping with shit, living through it, and coming out the other side richer and better is what resilience is.

In today’s world of safe spaces, political correctness gone mad, and the absence of good old-fashioned common sense, teaching your children resilience and knowing you possess it is a gift. Not everyone has it, so realise what a superpower it is and spread that shit everywhere.

Balloons for little kids are the first teachers of this. Balloons are really just disappointment on a string – they pop, fly away or go flat over time and all you are left with if you are lucky is a flash piece of string! Those disappointing balloons and dealing with the sadness of the picture of a flash balloon pissing off in 40 knots of nor-west wind is often the first introduction to building resilience in a small person’s world. With support, comfort, and empathy from those around them, they learn that the world doesn’t end, the sun still gets out of bed the next day and there will be other carnivals and circuses throughout their lives that have the opportunity to get another balloon. Each time that balloon does its party trick, coping mechanisms develop within that small fry that will help deal with some of the bigger stuff that comes along.

Some liken my life to a circus, but that said, I would have to be one of the most resilient people . I'm resourceful, feisty, independent, and just the woman you need around in a crisis because I’m at my best in those circumstances. Some close to me may disagree and instead say I’m pigheaded and bloody-minded and determined. Over the last 14 months following that bad break in my foot last year, there would have been moments when that was indeed true but old habits die hard.

Following the fusion of those five broken bones in my foot in February this year after months of pain and walking like a lame dairy cow for the best part of a year, I was so looking forward to returning to a life of what I call normal. An active life where I didn’t need to rely on help and could manage back on my piece of paradise without having to look at myself in the mirror and accept that I aren’t as capable as I was even a decade ago. I’m 4 months post-op, and while the bone graft in my foot is healing slowly, I am only too aware after advice from my surgeon that it will be a 12-month process. Patience was never my strong point and all I wanted to do was get back on the horse – figuratively. Incapacitation brings a level of vulnerability I have never been comfortable with and sometimes that causes me to do some dumb stuff on impulse to reassure myself that I really am in charge of my world.

When I told my kids I wanted to buy a new horse and have one last hurrah at riding and returning to the hunt field there was a mixed reaction. My daughter the horse enthusiast nodded and smiled and seemed supportive while my son who is blessed with my bluntness said “Don’t let your ambitions outweigh your capabilities!” At 27 sometimes he seems to possess a wisdom that I would rather remain unsaid and when I contacted him at 2am on Saturday morning as he was rising from his slumber on the other side of the world in Canada to give him my latest news, I knew what was in store for me.

You see, eight hours earlier I had smacked my new horse on the arse after a display of nappy behaviour and he had responded with an even bigger buck than the first one he had got the growling for. I’m overweight, unbalanced, and riding with one gammy foot, and as I sailed through the air and hit the shingle rather awkwardly, I felt fear briefly before the searing pain in my right ankle. Unable to weigh bear and waiting for my daughter to return with a vehicle to take me to the hospital, his words rang in my ears.

At midnight after my x-rays had been read in Chch, a nurse returned to tell me I had indeed fractured my ankle. I felt the colour drain from my face and a wave of nausea swept over me hearing the verdict as I have been there before. I quietly asked myself what the hell had I done and what was the lesson in this as I looked down the barrel of another 6 weeks on one leg. The irony is that the left leg which has spent 20 of the last 52 weeks resting and recuperating is now going to have to pull its weight while the other one now has its turn!

I don’t know if my ambitions are beyond my capabilities as I near 60, but I have always said go hard or go home. I’m pissed off all right but it's not terminal, I have lots of wonderful supportive people in my life and sometimes shit just happens. Underpinning all of that is that I have that resilience – my god am I gonna need it!


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