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Life lessons from a broken leg

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OpinionsHealth & Body

How fracturing a bone changed my life for the better.

It was raining heavily. I was running late to a very important meeting. What was supposed to be a quick dash across the road turned horribly wrong.

As soon as I slipped I knew I was in trouble. I heard a loud crack and I was on the ground, in the rain, pain searing up my left leg.

It is now four months, two surgeries and a whole lot of tears later. Even though I still rely (albeit less heavily) on crutches to get around, I've gained a whole new perspective on life.

Here are four lessons I learnt from breaking my leg:

1. It's better to be safe than sorry

I broke my leg running in the rain to a meeting. Needless to say, I didn't end up going to that meeting at all. I will always regret not sparing a few extra minutes to take the longer, much safer, route.

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Moments before my first surgery, aka one of the worst experiences of my life.
PHOTO CREDIT: YOUTH.SG/YASIRA HANNAN

We oftentimes put our education, work and commitments ahead of our own health and safety. I think it's time we remind ourselves that our wellbeing is the most important thing.

Pay attention to your physical and mental health. Without it, you will never be able to live the life you want and achieve the goals you have.

2. Patience is the key

Basic, everyday tasks take twice as long with a broken leg: walking, showering, even getting dressed. And with going out and having fun becoming a rarity, I just wanted to get better in an instant.

broken-leg-hospital-bed-sad
After two weeks of doing nothing but lie in bed, I was close to going insane.
PHOTO CREDIT:YOUTH.SG/YASIRA HANNAN

I had to learn how take a step back, breathe and think positively. Feeling sorry for myself was not going to heal me any faster.

In today's rapid-paced society, we might be prone to getting impatient and frustrated with slow progress. We see the achievements of everyone around us and can't help but feel stagnant.

Remember that it's okay to grow slowly. Progress, at any pace, is still progress.

3. Accepting dependence is okay

I've always had a hard time reaching out to people for help, broken leg or not. But being on crutches now, I had to accept the idea that I couldn't do certain things on my own.

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I need assistance for simple, everyday tasks - like fetching water and opening doors.
POSED PHOTO CREDIT: YOUTH.SG/GRAY

Sometimes it's hard to ask for help, especially in a highly independent and competitive society like ours.

Requesting support can make us feel vulnerable. It can (somewhat erroneously) make us feel inadequate and weak. But the truth is, everyone will struggle at some point.

We have to give ourselves permission to lean on others. It's not only okay, but essential, as humans, for us to ask for help when in need.

4. Be kind

Not being able to take care of myself made me realise how a little kindness can go a long way. 

I've had friends who were willing to escort me wherever I needed to go. Their acts of kindness have inspired me to be kind and lend a helping hand, whenever I can, to whoever is in need.

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I was pleasantly surprised by the many times complete strangers have offered to help me carry my bag or walk me to class.
POSED PHOTO CREDIT: YOUTH.SG/GRAY

We're all busy people, preoccupied with our own commitments, desires and responsibilities. We also tend to forget that our physical capabilities allow us to do all the basic things - that we often take for granted - with ease. Hence, we don't usually go out of our way to help other people.

Remember to be kind to one another because you never know what someone is going through – even if they're not in a cast or on crutches.

BANNER AND TEASER CREDITS: YOUTH.SG/AINI ALI