Hi I’m Nate and I’m an introvert. If someone told me even a year ago I’d start a blog and open up part of me to whoever cared to read it, I’d have thought they were crazy. Or maybe that I’d lost a bet.
But the reality is the past year has been transformational for me in a lot of ways, and I’m hoping I can do some good by sharing some of it. After working towards PT school for so long I would have never imagined my first year out would have unfolded this way, but looking back now I wouldn’t change it for a second.
I don’t know if everything happens for a reason, but I do believe everything that happens affords us an opportunity to give it a reason. I felt a palpable shift in my recovery when I stopped looking at this process as something that happened TO ME, and instead framed it as something that happened FOR ME.
From the time I rehabbed my first shoulder surgery as a junior in high school I knew I wanted to be a physical therapist. I understood the impact my PTs had on me returning to the sports that defined my identity at that time, and I knew I wanted to pay it forward.
But, one year out of PT school, and I’m facing sobering questions about my realistic physical capability for this career. It’s easy to feel like a fraud at work when you’re supposed to be an authority to help others with their injuries, but you’re having a hard enough time dealing with your own. By no means am I accepting my current function as my ultimate outcome, and I’m optimistic about what that ultimate outcome will be. But what is becoming increasingly clear is the paradoxical question of what even is “the ultimate outcome?”
If I’ve learned anything so far in this recovery, it’s that there is no finish line for it. Our bodies and minds are continual works in progress, and there’s too much substance and too many potential lessons in our life journeys to wait until you think you’re “finished” to share that with others.
I don’t know what the future function of my shoulder will be or how it will impact my future career. But I do know this process is happening FOR ME and is ultimately making me a better PT and person.
I wanted to become a physical therapist to help others return to the sports, activities, and whatever it is they love. And while I may not be able to do that in the exact capacity I originally planned, I know this is an opportunity for me to appreciate my own fragility, challenge my empathy, and ultimately expand my capacity to help others.
I’d love to connect with anyone going through their own “FOR ME not TO ME” battle, shoulder related or not. Please don’t hesitate to reach out!
Much love y’all,