I asked my physical therapist how much I should walk in the afternoon, expecting him to say “as far as you can go.” Instead he asked, “how far did you go yesterday?’ I told him two blocks up the street and two blocks back, but I felt I could go further. He said, “if you feel up to it, go ten steps further, no more.” His answer surprised me. I expected him to say “push it as far as you can.” But he didn’t.
I said, “My friend who had the same surgery is walking five blocks.” He looked at me with the wisdom of experience and said, “When it comes to exercise or rehab never compare yourself to others.”
I thought about his advice that afternoon, and realized his advice went way beyond surgery rehab. Life is hard enough without comparing oneself to someone else. Life is not a competition but a unique journey. I asked myself how many times had I messed up by trying to “keep with the Joneses” or being impatient to get to a goal.
Maybe my therapist is also a philosopher. “Ten steps more” sounds like a reasonable plan.