HUMAN nature being what it is, we tend to look around for something or someone to blame when things don’t go to plan.
We get a low grade in an exam: the teacher wasn’t good enough.
We arrive late for an appointment: the traffic lights were against us.
We pull an inverted Vesuvius out of the oven: the recipe was wrong.
It’s a knee-jerk reaction. There has to be a scapegoat for some of these things that test our resilience.
Here’s an example. Last September – the 5th to be precise – I tripped when out walking and tore the tendons in my ankle. The pain was awful, the enforced immobility like some kind of torture, and the prognosis was anybody’s guess.
I limped and hopped and moaned, occasionally seeking a professional opinion but mostly relying on time being the healer. It was, I’m happy to say, but it was a very long time. Eight months to be precise.
I was told that if I’d broken my ankle it would have taken a fraction of that time to come right again. Trust me to do the wrong thing.
While the tendons slowly reacquainted themselves with each other and learnt again what their function should be, I moped about feeling sorry for myself.
The fitness that I’d enjoyed, the running, the long walks, the striding up hills with ease, disintegrated within the first few weeks, leaving me grumpy and resentful.
So what did I do when, after those eight long months, I finally found the pain had gone and I really could walk again?
I stayed sitting down for another month, blaming my dreadful state of unfitness on my crocked ankle. An ankle as a scapegoat – that must be a first.
Getting fit again just seemed so daunting, and besides, I still felt sorry for myself. My ankle had suffered a near-death experience, after all.
However, I missed being able to spring about the place, annoying Geoff with my habit of being in perpetual motion. Time to get moving. After all, nine months is long enough to grow a baby so it must surely be long enough for an ankle to be reborn.
Self-improvement pushed self-pity out of the way, as my ankle and I hit the trail to fitness again.
Walking and more walking through the summer was enjoyable but it didn’t seem enough, somehow, so after a while I went online to see what I could do at home.
The result of my search has been that early each morning I power-walk four miles in the gym (it’s actually the kitchen, but gym sounds more hard-core). The 50-minute sessions include several periods of high-intensity stuff and by the end I am a jellified wreck.
My online instructor is a pocket-sized American woman with big hair and a dazzling smile of perfect gnashers who exhorts me to “Wok, wok, wok!” and so I do, infected by her enthusiasm.
Geoff braves the scene sometimes to put the kettle on for his breakfast cuppa, inching past me as I thrash about in a pink-faced frenzy.
“I’ve done my wok,” I tell him later, as I sit, glowing like a beacon. “It was wonderful.” He looks askance, unable to believe that something that gives the impression of being such agony could possibly be enjoyable.
I spend the rest of the day with the music pounding through my head and a voice compelling me to “Wok!”
Of course that’s not my fault, nor is it my fault that I now seem to be addicted to this punishing daily routine. It’s obvious that once more my ankle is to blame.