The Hidden Costs of an Active Lifestyle
May 2014, I was nearly 95kg and probably 20kg above my average weight for someone in their late 20's. I took action.
I began an almost daily routine of a minimum 5KM running and cut out most high sugar and carbs in my diet. It worked.
In 3 months I dumped over 15kg of body fat and was leaner and stronger than ever. It showed in professional productivity too. I felt more efficient, engaged and committed than ever despite challenging workloads.
June 2015, fast-forward 12 months, I was sitting in the Bundeswehr hospital in Central Berlin. My daily obsessions had crossed the line to even more cycling and physical bravado. Hurtling back from an office one sunny afternoon in Berlin, I lost control of my bike and as the world seemed to move into slow motion, I used my right knee to shield the blow.
My patella was badly bruised and cut open. As a result, an almost 4 month recovery period in which I struggled to walk for a very long period. I did make it gradually to a stage that my knee was somehow as strong as ever. However my pursuits led me to increasing feats of leveraging weight vests while exercising and increasing bench presses beyond my own body weight.
Now in January 2018, sitting in an orthodology clinic in Frankfurt, in my early 30's I face a similar challenge to recover. After several years of steady progress and even healthier dieting habits, I hit another wall. Perhaps it's my age, bad luck or both, but an x-ray identified 2 broken ribs.
Being in the process of transitioning from a sabbatical period of my career where I had previously resigned from a very successful role but no longer felt room to grow, I decided to spend some time travelling in foreign countries, sleeping on friends couches and doing some unconventional "living" while formulating the best way forward. Even the temporary apartment I live in is called "city living", but surely could mean something else now.
However not being cynical, this period of going "off the grid" brought me to some truly magical experiences despite some truly dead-ends. It allowed me to reaffirm positive relationships while sense-checking the negative.
My lesson(s) are that health is truly the most precious gift we possess as human beings. With it, we can achieve almost anything we put our minds to and it has given me so much confidence in the past to improve the quality of my life and prospects. Secondly, despite whatever barriers life throws at you, and however hostile your environment may seem, you must always have the strength of your beliefs to follow your well-intended dreams. That is true confidence.
Although my current situation is the numbing nursing of broken bones. My wounds will heal as the previous ones, and I will become even stronger (and wiser).