When I was told that travel around Europe was still possible when in a chair, I completely ignored the nurse and told myself it wasn’t going to happen. I have always been an 'all or nothing' type of person, if i wasn’t able to do something exactly the same as I was able bodied, then in my head I wasn’t doing it at all and it wasn’t worth it. A wheelchair limits those who allow it to.
Over the last 3 months I have experienced the highest of highs and the lowest of lows. Yet again fortunately I had Elisa by my side to pick up the pieces when I had my worst meltdown to date. Whilst I was in New York in our hotel bar I had a moment of clarity whilst enjoying a cold beer on my own. I realised that when people were continually telling me I am too hard on myself, maybe they were right. I took a bit of time to think and realise where I was, what I had done and what was ahead of me in regards to my time in Italy. My pessimistic lenses were removed and replaced with an optimists outlook. Although I am hard on myself I feel that this is a way I maintain my attitude to consistently setting and achieving goals, and reinforcing that nothing is ever good enough. I could always do 1% better. If I’m not looking forward I am going backwards in my eyes.
I recall whilst in the Talbot, the first time I actually laid flat on my stomach and thinking to myself how hard this was to actually achieve and that I wouldn’t be able to enjoy lazing around on a camp chair , laying on the grass or even sitting in a couch at home. This really depicts my mindset at the time and what I thought the future would hold for me (bound to a wheelchair, shower chair and my bed for the rest of my life). Fast forward to where I am currently, sitting in a airport lounge about to fly home from Rome after spending 4 weeks in Italy on cobblestone roads, living in houses with steps, navigating through non accessible buildings, swimming in pools, the beaches, sitting in a camp chair, laying on grass, transferring into cars that are no where near what I would imagine I could get in. Steps are no longer an obstacle, a house without a hoist is no longer an obstacle, an appropriate bathroom is no longer an obstacle, water is once again a close friend of mine! A comment I kept making to family members was “theres another tick” meaning I had just achieved something for the first time that I never thought I would.
To have my parents and brother surprise me for a week whilst in my grandfathers home town was not only something that I’ll never forget but proved to me that although I am a quadriplegic, my life is pretty damn good. Almost to the day of my 2 year anniversary of this shit injury, I have proven myself wrong, doctors and I hope that I have proved to others in my situation that they to can do what I have. The only limitations in life are those set in your own head.
To thank everybody would take too long and I would no doubt leave someone out, but to all those people that helped Elisa and myself throughout the last month through our travels of Italy, these achievements are thanks to you. The mental shackles that I left Melbourne with to begin this journey are well and truely gone, now I take home with me an attitude that “Impossible is nothing”.