I would like to post this as a followup to a post I made a year or so back entitled “Why I will never be successful” (or something like that..).
A lot has changed this past year. Aside from the sad and dismal posts that have become a depressing presence in the past posts, I have been making great strides in my life. I have a lot of the up and downs that just comes with life, the things everyone deals with. Jealousy, sadness, as well as joy and excitement.
Wounded Warrior Project has been the most effective with their programs at getting me up and going. It started with Project Odyssey in June 2013. Prior to that, I spent my days in bed doing pretty much nothing but wishing the physical pain I was in would go away. I didn’t know why I was in all that pain and I was really getting depressed at thinking that I would never again get to enjoy the things in life that I did in the past. I was invited to go to Project Odyssey, I hesitated and stressed out over the idea of being so active. I really had little faith I would gain much. Out of that week though, I decided, with the help of the WWP staff and Peer Mentors, to make a huge life altering goal. The goal is a personal one, but suffice it to say, my family dynamic was vastly improved after my goal was met. When I got back home I had a new confidence about me. I knew I would be able to get out and get the kids out and enjoy our days instead of me staying in my bed all day in pain. The tools that were given to me during my week are tools that I continue to use.
After that week in June, I was able to get in touch with an organization called The Lakeshore Foundation. They have a para-Olympic training center in Birmingham, Alabama. They offer retreats for Veterans and their families. It is a great way to help the veteran regain physical fitness in their life. They offer a wide variety of inclusive sports with their adaptive equipment. They offered wheelchair basketball, wheelchair tennis, scuba, water skiing (both in the adaptive seat or regular skis), kayaking, cycling, as well as a gun range and clay shooting. I wasn’t able to bring anyone with me that trip because of school for the kids, but I went and learned even more about what I COULD do, and nothing about what I COULDN’T do. I discovered there that I WOULD be able to cycle again. I rode their recumbent bike (the kind with one wheel in the front, two in the back) and I knew right then what one of my next goals was going to be. I would do whatever it took to get an adaptive recumbent bike, I would ride it, and sign up for Soldier Ride with WWP. You don’t have to have your own bike for the beginner Soldier Ride, but I really want to get into riding and work up to being able to do the Solider Ride and be able to enjoy it even more.
When I came back from Lakeshore, I received an email about the WWP Nashville office having their 1 year party. I decided to drop in and say hello, eat food, and meet other veterans. While I was there I discussed becoming a Peer Mentor myself. I am happy to say that in December, I attended the training in Nashville and I am now a volunteer Peer Mentor!
I recently returned from the WWP Female Summit in Florida. I got so much new information! I couldn’t wait to come home and start even more ambitious endeavors! I have plans on meeting with the Student Veteran reps at the local colleges so I can pass along some of what I learned. There aren’t a lot of Alumni in my area, but I know there are veterans my age around here. I feel like they just don’t know what all is out there!
Another thing I have done since returning from the Summit was join Team Red, White and Blue .
So yes, I do have physical limitations, or really more of speed bumps, but I just have to make that choice every morning and ask myself, am I going to stay in bed all day, or am I going to find something today that I can do to improve my situation. I also need to allow myself to realize when I have just done enough and need to take a break.