Stoicism | Health | Philosophy | Walking

The Random Gift of Injury

Stoicism is accepting whatever the world throws at you. Not to be bullied by the universe, but to accept fate and manage the moment. This, of course, is an oversimplification, but for our purposes we’ll run with this definition. There are bookshelves full of stoic philosophy at the ready should you wish to dive deeper.

With this in mind, what were the odds that I’d bruise my right heel stepping on a small log tossed underfoot by a rogue wave I was running to avoid on a beach in Marin, California on the one morning I happened to be walking in that place in my lifetime? Not quite as random as hitting the birth lottery, but pretty damned remote. One step of thousands of steps, landing on the exact spot to create a bruise that’s irritated me for a couple of weeks now.

Maybe irritate is the wrong word. Maybe fascinate is better, because of the randomness of that bruise. Semantics aside, it’s a classic test of stoicism, one I ought to embrace for the gift it is. A bit of pain in the heel is a small tradeoff for the celebration of random events that brought us together. And sure, it could have been a lot worse. Rogue waves aren’t to be trifled with.

Accepting whatever is thrown at you doesn’t mean you don’t deal with the problem at hand. You don’t have to like getting hurt. To do so would be a clear signal of another problem in your life. A bit of motrin, some heel inserts, and other efforts to heal the heel are ongoing. Some long walks I’d planned have been postponed. To press on would aggravate the injury, extending it, and from a stoic point of view, it would mean not accepting this fate.

Who am I to ignore this random gift?

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