Two years and two days ago, a dumb maneuver on my mountain bike left me with a torn ACL. I had no idea how that moment would ripple through my life.
Forget cycling – Immediately, I was out of my job as a carpenter. I couldn’t walk, never mind climb ladders. It was a month before I was able to hobble around the jobsite. That said, I did enjoy sitting on my porch and reading for a couple of weeks. Not being able to afford food was troubling though…
Diligence with PT had me walking well and working by August, but I couldn’t see how I’d ever get back to normal without surgery. That was planned for September, and then pushed back to October by the insurance company (I’m still not sure why – Perhaps they hoped I might die in the interim and save them the money?) I knew the surgery would have me on my ass for a month, and I needed a revenue stream. A chance encounter with an old colleague led me into a pile of writing work for This Old House’s website. I reached out to Fine Homebuilding and landed even more writing work.
The surgery went well, and the PT went even better. It wasn’t long before the therapists recognized me as a patient they could challenge, and I actually came to enjoy the sessions.
I was healing, and being a professional writer would have made my mother proud. But the money from writing didn’t wholly replace what I’d been making as a carpenter. By January I’d been out of work for two months. I was able to go back, but the company I’d been with didn’t seem to need me.
Wondering what my next move was, I asked an old friend who had a remodeling business if knew of anyone looking for a lead carpenter. It turned out that he was, but that the better solution was to become partners.
And here we are. Two years and two days later, I’m almost back to my pre-ACL-tear mountain biking abilities. The remaining disability is in my head, not my knee. I’m delighted with my working situation. And I’m still writing for Fine Homebuilding (I’m a contributing editor there now – an honorarium mainly).
Tearing my ACL led to a series of events that improved my life.