I disagree with the old adage, “It’s not where you start. It’s where you finish.” I much prefer, “It’s not where you start or finish. It’s how far you have come.”
As I regularly attended amputee support group meetings, it became clear to me that each attendee had a different starting point, different circumstances, and a unique ability to progress at his or her own pace. Comparing your progress with another person’s is therefore a false measure. How can you compare the results of a 20-year-old motorcycle accident victim with a senior suffering from vascular disease and type 2 diabetes? Both may have lost a leg below the knee, but to compare their progress is unfair.
Measuring progress should be based on your personal outcomes. To measure your progress, take stock of your circumstances and your starting point, and then determine how far you have come—so far. Are you really finished? After receiving your high school diploma, did you stop learning new things? Of course not. Why would you assume that after an arbitrary period—one year, for example—improvements in your mobility and abilities would cease? One gentleman I know had been an amputee for seven years. He didn’t know he could run until he attended a running clinic. It turned out that he could run very well, so he attended a second running clinic and improved exponentially. His physical activity increased. He found a new outlet for recreation. And his self-image and confidence got a heck of a boost.
So, stop com-paring yourself to others. Get a new measuring stick, evaluate honestly how far you have come, and consider what else you can do to improve your life. You are not finished yet!
Herb Kolodny lost his right leg above the knee to cancer in 2013.