I left the house last night contemplating whether I was going for a run or a long walk. On my way down, I noticed a new spot had opened up at the side of the road, selling street food. I kept walking, trying to get a good look at what they had to offer. Suddenly, the ground seemed to open up underneath me, and I sank hard and fast. I was fortunate enough to hold on to the top of the ditch with my elbow before being fully engulfed, but not before losing my pair of slippers inside. When I pulled myself back up, some people came over to help me find my footwear, but they couldn't get in because it was too deep.
At that moment, I remember thinking, "Thank God I wore a cap tonight." The fact that I could use the cap to shield myself from the embarrassment and looks that would have resulted from falling into a conspicuous opening in the middle of the walkway made me happy.
I quickly gave up on the footwear and gingerly walked barefooted across the road, hoping that, with the luck I had going that night, I wouldn’t get run over by a car.
I walked until I came to the nearest store and bought a fresh pair of Crocs. I had been putting off buying one for the longest time. I was thrilled to have made it out unscathed and to have found a new pair of shoes that provided more protection. To celebrate and distract myself from the experience, I decided that going for a run would be more appropriate.
A concept I read about earlier in the day came to mind: antifragility, developed by Nassim Nicholas Taleb in his book Antifragile. According to Taleb, antifragility refers to utilizing adversity to your advantage and improving, whereas resilience is the ability to withstand adversity when it occurs. Antifragility, according to Taleb, goes beyond resilience or robustness: “The resilient resists shocks and stays the same; the antifragile gets better." The Hydra of Lerna is a good illustration of this idea. Two more Hydra heads appeared after Hercules severed the first one.
“We need randomness, mess, adventures, uncertainty, self-discovery, traumatic episodes — all these things that make life worth living.”
— Nassim Nicholas Taleb.
It seemed like I had come out of that experience as an antifragile, with new footwear and a clear mind. As I ran past moving traffic, it felt good to think back on what would have been a forgettable experience as a useful one.
The adrenaline rush started to wear off about three kilometers into my run. My legs did not feel strong enough to take longer strides, so I pulled into a slow stride. I turned around and started walking back home.
On the way back, I could tell that the fall had sprained my left ankle. I shrugged it off because it did not seem all that painful at the time. I was listening to a podcast that discussed the philosophy of shame, its political ramifications, and how it has both positive and negative aspects.
A few weeks ago, I decided I could go on these long walks every other day. Catching up on my favorite podcasts and listening to upbeat music would be a good use of the time. An added benefit would be the fitness component.
When I returned to my apartment, I quickly turned on the speakers and jumped into the shower without realizing that the sprained ankle had started swelling up. I was distracted in the shower singing along to "Fight Song" by Rachel Platten.
Limping out of the shower, I got dressed and laid out on the couch with a pillow to prop up my left foot and an ice block wrapped in a cloth to reduce the swelling. I remembered hearing the advice to "keep the foot elevated" from a recent television series; they claim that doing so will help the fluids from the swelling drain more quickly.
It turned out that the sprain was more painful than anticipated. The limp turned into a one-foot hop to the kitchen to gobble on some bananas as if they were some sort of medicine for a sprained ankle.
I went to bed thinking something that made me chuckle;
“this would make a good story…”