Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Ernest Shackleton helped me change my attitude

I've struggled a bit with my attitude recently - that's been an outcome of being at home for six weeks and not being able to be physically active - no cycling, no walking up or down hills, no tramping - pretty much no anything. This has been a struggle for me and consequently I've been pretty grumpy. Quite sick of being told to rest up, enjoy my time off work, don't do too much, etc etc as well as being asked "How are you?" - I've found it almost impossible to answer that question with anything positive.

While a few have pointed out things could be worse, my brain wouldn't accept that comment as being helpful. That was until I was given a specific example of what could be worse. Imagine this : being in an open boat in the rough seas of the south Atlantic Ocean, the only food available is dog food, the temperature is freezing and you have a bout of diarrhea. In addition, after each bout of diarrhea, you get to wipe your bum with a piece of ice. That's what faced the men travelling with Ernest Shackleton. In a nutshell the story goes like this : Shackleton and his men on the ship Endurance were trapped in pack ice on 14 February 1915. Their ship was then crushed by the ice and sank on 21 November 1915. They camped out on the ice until 8 April 1916 when they took to their three lifeboats which they rowed to Elephant Island arriving there on 15 April 1916. It was during this time rowing to Elephant Island when the above scenario happened. The journey didn't end there. If you're interested, the book, Shackleton, by Roland Huntford is a great read about Shackleton's polar expeditions.

The whole experience they went through sounds dreadful but that one description about the diarrhea sunk into my grumpy brain and made me think that my situation is certainly not so bad. So I am on the up mentally but, please, resist the urge to ask how I am or tell me that the time will pass quickly - words like those could see me sink back into my grumpy quagmire.

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