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Be Realistic

30 August, 2015

A few weeks ago, I went to see the Melbourne Premier of my Aunt’s documentary ‘SHERPA’. It is the story of the men and women, who risk their lives making a living by guiding tourists on the Everest climb. To undertake the filming of this Doco, Bridget undertook five months of training for dangerous terrain, the weather and the altitude for that mighty climb.

While watching the film, it suddenly dawned on me, “I will never be able to climb Everest now.” I snapped myself out of it and gave myself a stern talking to. I was NEVER going to climb Everest when I could walk. What are you, crazy? 

"I need to be realistic about what I want to do, and how I am going to achieve that. All I really want is to be able to participate in things I enjoy."

I mean come on, its bloody freezing sub zero temperatures, sun burn, wind burn, frost bite, hypothermia, altitude sickness and that’s all before you actually have to climb. And this isn’t just going up a flight of stairs; this put your body through some serious physical strain climbing. Daaah!! As if I was ever going to do that.

I need to be realistic about what I want to do, and how I am going to achieve that. All I really want is to be able to participate in things I enjoy. I love the movies. Can I get to a cinema and enjoy a film, yes I can. 

I enjoy fishing, so can I get to a river or creek and sit and relax with a rod, and a good book? I think that is affirmative. Can I go to the zoo, and then drink Sangria in the park? Yes I can, while enjoying some Lou Reed and company of friends. I can go out to dinner to my favourite local restaurant and laugh and cry and reminisce about ‘remember when?’ with family and dear friends. The things I loved to do before my SCI I am still more than able to do now, I just have to adapt a couple of things and do it differently. 

"The things I loved to do before my SCI I am still more than able to do now, I just have to adapt a couple of things and do it differently."

I want go on a cruise, and I can do that. I sit at my laptop and write that one great novel I have inside me. I can still cuddle on the couch with my dog and watch TV or just Skype with family that are all over Australia. These are things that are important to ME, that bring me joy.

So no, I will never be able to climb Mount Everest, but I never would have anyway, and I am not sadistic enough to spend $30K to $1000K for torture. There are many things will never be able to do, but they are most likely things I wouldn’t have done anyway. Being realistic helps me to live with my SCI.

Jacinta Burnicle resides in regional Victoria and has been living with a spinal cord injury since October 2014. Currently on the journey to weight loss in a wheelchair and some form of walking,  Jacinta enjoys films, novels, writing and all things science fiction.

Tags: Blog