Reading time: 1 minute
I just finished reading Barack Obama’s new book, A Promised Land, which came out on the 17th of this month.
In this book, audiobook, I started to tear up when he talked about his grandmother passing away. (3/4 through Chapter 9).
Not a great thing while in the gym, but then he said something that stopped me.
He (his grandmother) put an innate understanding that I’ve had into words. One of those rare moments when a string of words becomes much more than that.
While at his grandmothers’ side during her last hours, he thought back to something she once told him, (and I’m paraphrasing) the thing about getting old is that you’re trapped in this contraption that falls apart – but it’s still you.
You’re stuck in this contraption that’s falling apart, but it’s still you – it always has been and will be.
My understanding of this came mostly from the likes of psycho-cybernetics and books similar. The understanding that who we are can be independent of who we look like we are, and both are a result of the conscious and unconscious decisions we make.
The insight here is that similar to getting old, having a physical disability is just you stuck inside this contraption that broke or doesn’t properly work – but it’s still you.
This could be true for any disability and not exclusive of only physical. I don’t have experience with much else, and so, I reserve myself.
When I tell people I’ve never been depressed from my injury, or when they see how much I did within just a year after my injury, I often get asked how I was able to do it.
I’m not sure I can decode it entirely, but I do recognize that a majority of people don’t dust themselves off as quickly as I had. Having this type of wisdom – in words or feelings – the understanding that you haven’t changed can help a lot.
Immediate actionable items: Think about this. If you journal (I highly recommend you do), it’s a good practice to just open the flood gates and write out your thoughts. Write out your understanding of this and “think on paper” as I call it.
Summary: The insight gained from a recent read, that who you are can be independent of your body. Getting old or acquiring a physical disability, your body may be breaking, but you’re still you.
Overdeliver: A quote from Hunter S. Thompson
“Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming, ‘Wow, what a ride!’ ”
PS, happy birthday mom!