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From Superman to Wheelchair : What I Learned from Christopher Reeve…

22/09/2016

The Ultimate Man…

From Superman to Wheelchair : What I Learned from Christopher Reeve…

Tall, dark and handsome. Imagine being 6ft 4inches tall, built like a tank, with the coolest, slickest set of jet black hair going! Oh and how can I forget… you’re also known as the guy who plays Superman!

That’s pretty cool right? 

Introducing… Christopher Reeve. He was the man all guys wanted to be, and every woman wanted to be with!

I think most kids have fantasied about being an action hero at some point during childhood. It’s the absolute dream (well it was for me anyway!). I’d spend many nights dreaming about saving the world; flying through the sky like Superman, racing the Batmobile, and hopping from skyscraper to skyscraper like Spiderman!

Tragic Accident…

what-i-learned-from-christopher-reeve

The days of kicking the bad guys butts and flying through the sky as Superman came to an abrupt end. It happened on May 27th, 1995, when Christopher Reeve was horse riding. As he went over a jump the horse he was riding pulled out, consequently flipping him over, where he landed on his head. As soon as the impact occurred he was instantly paralysed.

One minute you’re Superman! The next you’re in a wheelchair and paralysed for the rest of your life. Literally within the click of finger.

According to the doctors… If his head landed just 2 more inches to the left he would have died instantly. Had his head landed 2 more inches to the right he’d have been absolutely fine – only to be left with a bruise. That’s the small margins between life, death and paralysis.

Unfortunately whilst he escaped immediate death, he was left with a life time sentence of paralysis. After a long and brutal battle, Christopher Reeve passed away on October 10th, 2004.

An Emotive Story…

I recently came across the book which tells the tale of Christopher Reeve’s life, and how he dealt with the aftermath and cultivated a new life after his tragic accident. The book called ‘Still Me’ is the most moving story i’ve read to date.

Tear drops formed, and ran down my cheeks on many occasions. I found myself going on long walks, whilst I reflected on the meaning of life. A mixture of emotions came to the surface, from appreciation (to be fortunate to do all I can), to moments of sadness, and uncomfortable feelings one can experience when emotional.

As I worked my way through the chapters, i’d take little breaks in-between to watch YouTube – moments of Christopher Reeve playing Superman. I’d also watch interviews of him, smiling, full of charisma, full of life.

Then I looked at the videos of him after the accident. His old life gone for good, totally immobile, unable to look after himself, completely dependant on his carers. The video that struck me the most, was the first speech he gave after his accident, it was at the Oscars in 1996.

As I read the book I felt a connection, almost like he’d been in my life, or that i’d met him in person. A good autobiography really does that to you. Knowing the back ground and how much courage it took to do that speech, made me appreciate the video perhaps more than just the average viewer.

Lessons learned…

The reason i’ve put together this article is to share some of the lessons/reflections that came to me whilst reading the book:

Appreciating Life

How do we really know how long we have left to live? We don’t. It’s not like we have a ‘death date bubble’ above our heads (and who’d want that anyway?).

As cliche as it sounds on paper, appreciating life is imperative. All too often life is taken for granted. As morbid as it sounds the reality is that you or a loved one may not be here for much longer.

The reality is that today someone in the World has lost their son, daughter, mother, father, brother, sister, auntie, uncle, or friend. There’s a soldier out there fighting a battle, whose just lost a leg. There’s a child out there who’s just been diagnosed with cancer. There’s a family out there, completely famished, their bodies out of energy, who are unable to survive another day without nourishment.

Taking time to stop each day, reflect and appreciate your life is something I believe most us could do with more often.

Making a conscious effort to think differently 

How many times have you a heard a harrowing story, and been totally moved by it? You know like when ‘Children in Need’ is on and they show you clips of those suffering in the World…

For a brief moment of time your full engrossed, your emotions get the better of you. Your heart melts, tears stream down your face and you endeavour to donate £5 for food. You also stop and take a brief moment, realising how lucky you really are….

But then 24hrs later you’ve completely forgotten about that feeling, your moaning about a traffic jam or the fact that you have to go to work. That moment and appreciation that touched your heart 24hrs ago has long gone.

4 Things I’m Grateful For…

After reading ‘Still Me’ I made a promise to myself… to wake up every morning and name 4 things that i’m grateful for and things which I appreciate. I finished the book 3 weeks ago and have kept my promise so far. The 4 things I appreciate are:

  1. That i’m alive. I’m incredibly fortunate to wake up and experience another day.
  2. Gratitude for being able to do so many amazing things: walk, talk, run, read, write, type, see, hear, use my muscles, learn, etc, etc
  3. I have the most amazing family and friends: mum, dad, sister, auntie, uncle, gran, girlfriend.
  4. I can live comfortably: I can afford food, have access to water and have a roof over my head.

Conclusion:

Before reading ‘Still Me’ I was looking for inspiration. I was needing a kick up the butt to be honest! I’m very glad I chose to read this story and I would highly recommend to anyone looking for inspiration, and looking to connect more deeply within.

Just before you click off this page, I challenge you to stop for a moment and think about 4 things in your life that you’re grateful for.

If you’re struggling here’s a few potential ideas: your children, your family, your house, food, water, a great job, a great friend, it shouldn’t be hard to find these 4 things…

Also, If you’re happy to share what your grateful for i’d love to hear from you, please leave your comments below.

Thanks,

owner of LEP Fitness

Nick 

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