fall down nine times, get up ten

I fell while running one time. I'm not a person who falls very often - even when negotiating icy sidewalks - but I fell in spite of the fact that spring had melted away all of the ice, leaving just the asphalt.

I was crossing a quiet side street. One moment I was on top of the world, my eyes trained on the horizon and its infinite possibilities. The next thing I knew, my eyes were at ground level as I hit the sidewalk with a splat. A few cars drove by on the main road, but no one seemed to notice the girl sprawled out flat on the ground.

Get up, get up, get up! came the message from within. Bounce back up! Act nonchalant! Never let 'em see you sweat! Get up and keep on running!

I stood back up and, ignoring the little tweaks of discomfort here and there, resumed running. If I ran on confidently, perhaps no one would know that I'd fallen. The knees of my track pants were dirty, but I figured if I ran long and hard enough, it would be enough to undo the memory of the fall and lift the dust right out of the fabric.

That physical fall was momentary, but our psychological falls sometimes seem to stretch on for months on end.  I find myself wishing that the mental process of pursuing a goal were as easy as the physical one: even if you fall flat on your face, you can bounce right back up and keep on running as fast and as far as you can. A few bruises are nothing compared to staying down and giving up after falling - or getting up after you've fallen, turning around, and retracing your steps.

Many times we fall mentally and don't make an effort to get up. Many times we fall mentally, give up, and retrace our steps. Sometimes we sit there, feeling sorry for ourselves; sometimes we regress backwards, falling into old habits of inaction and thought that aren't going to get us anywhere.

At those times, we need to stop lying there. We need to bounce back up and keep on going. Remember the horizon and its infinite possibilities? As we run past pessimism, self-indulgence, and self-pity, we can imagine these things falling away from us, just as I once imagined the dust disappearing from the knees of my track pants as I got up for the tenth time, and kept on running.

fall down nine times get up ten

Celebrating the ability to get back up a tenth time: a leap of faith.

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Thanks for such an encouraging reminder to keep going. We are all going to fall on our journey to a healthy and active lifestyle but the thing that is going to separate us from the rest is that we get back up when we do!

Comment by Crystal — March 9, 2010 @ 5:07 pm

What a lovely post! Thank you for the inspiration. :)

Comment by Maggie — March 9, 2010 @ 8:44 pm

It’s what you guys say about setbacks right? We don’t learn if we don’t fail sometimes. And sometimes it is an epic fail, but as rule 16 of the internets states: If you fail in epic proportions, it may just become a winning failure.

So don’t be a afraid to fail!

Comment by Brendan — March 9, 2010 @ 9:53 pm

A wonderfully inspiring piece. It truly can be both embarrassing and demotivating to fall down when engaged in something so stubbornly and single-mindedly pursued, such as health. I am reminded of the “diet” mentality, along with many other pursuits that are unrelated to health. No need to retrace our steps, learn from them and keep on moving.
Very motivational words. Thank you so much~

Comment by Elya — March 13, 2010 @ 7:08 pm

Here’s a wise piece of advice I was given once: you learn nothing from success and everything from failure.

Our falls are just the universe’s way of teaching us. :) If you never fell, you’d never learn to get up, to persevere, to work hard. You don’t learn what determination feels like (sometimes quite literally in the case of your knees). You don’t learn what strength feels like (to hold your head high).

Falling is necessary. :) Embrace it!

Comment by Aleksandra S — March 16, 2010 @ 8:10 am

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