Endurance is a word most associated with athletics. You hear that word and you think long distance runners, long distance skiers, or bi and triathletes. While it does describe those athletic endeavors well, the word is not only meant for marathon runners. You see, we all have to have endurance in our daily lives.
The very base of the word is endure, which basically means simply putting up with something. For those of you that often read my writings, you will understand immediately, as it takes quite a bit of endurance to put up with my ideas at times! So, endurance is not just about physical capability, it is about pushing through with whatever you might be doing. When I got my first set of legs it took me twenty-five minutes to put them on, and by the time I was done, I was exhausted. This morning -- more than three years later -- I put on my legs in about two and a half minutes. I built up the strength, the muscle memory, and learned all the tricks, and now it takes me no time at all. That could be considered a form of endurance. Most all amputees can remember a time when we had to go to therapy and taking those first few short steps on our prosthesis or picking up our first 2 pound dumbbell was a chore that wore us out. We eventually built up strength to turn those first few curls or steps into our everyday walk or arm motion. We built up endurance. We took an insurmountable task and turned it into our everyday. That is the key to endurance. Keeping on keeping on until that short walk to the mailbox that was such a torture is nothing more than a quick jaunt down the driveway we don't have a second thought about. If your on the far side of endurance daily tasks are no longer a hassle, but if you are on the near side of endurance, don't worry, it will come. I had a hard time dealing with becoming a triple amputee at first; I thought my life would be over. I had to build up an endurance in my own mind to the difficulties in my life, and tell myself every day that things would be better -- even if I didn't always believe it. That is where endurance begins, in the mind, and in your thoughts. If you can do nothing more than put up with the fact that your life is different, you are are on the road to enduring what lies ahead. Once you endeavor to persevere in your own mind, you will build the endurance and strength of mind and body to do what you want to do. Set your goals and work toward them, and the endurance will follow. It wont be easy, and you will get tired, but in the end you will be able to run your own marathon, even if it is only a trip down the driveway and back!
B Neil Brown