There's got to be more to life...
September 23, 2012 6:48 PM   Subscribe

Resources/ideas for proving to myself that there will be new passions out there for me to love

The past seven years my life has been all about combat sports. It wasn't something i was earning money from, just something I was crazy in love with and wanted to master and happily poured all my free time into. I moved overseas for it, I cut down my working hours for it (my job was just a pesky interruption between training sessions), then I studied and retrained to work in a gym so I could do something closer to my passions. Then I got injuries. Lots of them, due to my hip structure rather than a contact injury. I'd always had some injury every 6 months or so but they started coming thick and fast. Now I can't even go for a jog. Rehab is all about maintenance, surgery was explored and ruled out (cost and severity of issues). I fell into a deep depression, felt jealous of my friends training, felt like I lost some of who I am, lost direction etc. I feel like the world I know is getting further and further away from me. There has to be more to life than sport and exercise. I miss being passionate about learning something, I miss having a reason to get out of bed in the morning. There's a big gap in my life. But it also feels like this could be a real growth opportunity for me, that I might discover new parts of myself. I know I need to eventually accept the situation if I'm to move on but I'm struggling with that. I need to stay positive. At the moment it looks like dabbling in creating music could be a new 'thing's but I don't feel fully immersed in it yet. I can't imagine not having something physical at the centre of my life. I'm looking for anecdotes about people who for reasons outside their control dramatically shifted their careers/passions to other fields and have gone on to find fulfilment. People who've reinvented themselves and found it rewarding. Your own or others. Even just people who've never done much exercise at all and are happy anyway as at the moment this is outside my realm of experience.
posted by lifethatihavenotlivedyet to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (11 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
No longer getting the endorphins is probably at least a part of your depression. I suggest asking a physio if there's any kind of intense excercise you can safely do. Running's probably out for now, but you might get a similar "power surge" feeling from rowing or weight training. If you really like combative/ competitive stuff, I'm sure there must be options for people with hip dysfunction- you just gotta find em. In the meantime, get into a rigorous, dedicated rehab schedule for your damaged hip. Even seriously damaged areas can usually be improved at least slightly with the right combos of stretching, strengthening, hydrotherapy and massage. You don't have to stop being active, and you might even be able to continue with your sport in a limited way. (I can't promise that, I don't know your situation). Explain to your physio what your goals are. They're there to help.
posted by windykites at 7:34 PM on September 23, 2012

Isn't there another low-impact sport you could pour your life into, like swimming? Perhaps you could try coaching?

FWIW, when I returned to Canada after living for 10 years in Japan, where I had been very engaged with life and had enjoyed every day of living, I entered a mild to severe depression for several years, but I got out of it thankfully.
posted by KokuRyu at 7:36 PM on September 23, 2012

Oh anecdotes: my mom used to dance, but her knees and feet got totally wrecked from it (well, not totally, but she couldn't keep dancing). Now she's an avid cyclist. My grandma had disk degeneration that was supposed to put her in a wheelchair. She had to stop running, but she kept right on walking and swimming laps. (And now she's learning to play the piano!) Her and my grandpa still go on wilderness trips.
posted by windykites at 7:40 PM on September 23, 2012 [1 favorite]

It depends on the specifics of your hip problems, but surely there are other activities that may not stress/depend on that hip issue.

Any interest in competitive rowing or climbing?
posted by porpoise at 7:56 PM on September 23, 2012

If you're getting chronic type injuries I really recommend doing something like Pilates or Alexander Technique or Escogue method (or all three) at a pretty high level of commitment for a good long while. Like a year. As well as cross training in some sport that doesn't hurt you (x-country skiing, swimming, ice skating, dancing.. play around until you find something that makes you feel better the next day and not worse). I think you'll find you can manage your problems a lot better that way than via traditional PT, which isn't usually hard core enough to actually fix anything to the point of restoring athletic performance. Plus those methods are hard and time consuming enough to fill the sports sized hole in your life.

Spending a year or so on some serious realignment, balance, core-work etc can do wonders. And finding something you can do pretty hard, like swimming, will keep your body and metabolism ticking over. Once you stop moving you're dead! At least that's been my experience.
posted by fshgrl at 8:01 PM on September 23, 2012 [1 favorite]

There's a great book called The Orchid Thief about an uber-passionate guy who has bounced from all-consuming life love to all-consuming life love with fair regularity. The author longs for knowledge of this overflowing of passion, and explores the ideas around how someone can shift focus and direct their passion elsewhere in life with such ease. Though it was "adapted" into a film that explores similar themes, the book itself is not a work of fiction and describes real people.
posted by carsonb at 8:13 PM on September 23, 2012

Have there ever been times in your life when you discovered something new and got really into it? Maybe not just combat, but... walking? speaking? thinking abstractly? Our whole lives are filled with opportunities to move forward and learn new things, and you have a whole concrete history of doing so. This is just one more opportunity.
posted by jaguar at 8:48 PM on September 23, 2012

I know my yoga teacher used to be an avid runner until she wrecked her body with it. She is now 100% committed to yoga. It's very restorative, just be sure to pick the right style for your body.

Oh, and watch this! Yay.

Hugs and hang in there!
posted by icanbreathe at 9:47 PM on September 23, 2012 [1 favorite]

I wasn't as hardcore at you at combat sports, but I did go through a period of my life where all the people I socialized with were my gym buddies and it was my everything. My way of destressing from work, my fun, my social circle, my way of meeting new people, my exercise, my entertainment, my sense of confidence, my sense of self-growth etc. I then sustained a whiplash injury that I'm still affected by this day, and initially, it crushed me. I know many people recover from whiplash, but I'm worried about it occurring again and I'm not as dedicated as other people to spend the other hours of my time doing weights and training the weaker parts of my body (such as my neck), so I just gave it up for good.

I eventually turned to outdoor sports (hiking, cycling, some rock climbing) for a year, but not as hardcore as the combat sport, and I find that the other sports don't satisfy me to the same extent, but I just let other interests pick up the slack. Now I live a fairly sedentary life (which I need to change), but I'm very satisfied through the volunteer work, art I do, the stories I write, technical skills I'm teaching myself, and the people I meet through all these other avenues. I just need to pick up the exercise front, but I feel like I'm a less specialized but more interesting person as a result. I still want to go back to combat sport eventually, just a different one.

Here's some food for thought from Robert A. Heinlein (should be taken with a grain of salt, but chew on it): "A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects."

Nuture the part of you that is curious about the unknown, and take some risks!
posted by Hawk V at 11:27 PM on September 23, 2012

Are you able to weight train? A lot of people I know transitioned from sport to weight training; it's got the same adrenaline kick but can be less impactful on your body, depending on how you do it and how your form is.

The other side of this is that the stronger that you get, the more stabilization you get for your wonky joints. My bad knee is virtually non-existent now that I have muscle on all sides taking some of the heat off of it.
posted by Rodrigo Lamaitre at 5:15 AM on September 24, 2012

My husband is an ex-dancer with dual hip implants and arthritis in his lower back. He also used to enjoy rock climbing and martial arts.

He is able to do many aspects of Filipino stick fighting, not crouches and kicks, but he is very good with the sinawali patterns. When he gets bored, he walks around the yard practicing and sometimes whacking trees, as seen here, about 5:00 into the video. He has the foam sticks and the wooden ones.

He can also juggle, both balls and clubs. A bit hard to pick them up, as his range of motion is such that he cannot bend down to put on socks or tie his shoes (he uses slip-ons). He also cannot squat at all, so he has to bend at the waist. But is able to do the stick-fighting and many of the knife fighting techniques as well (practices with a hard rubber knife).

He's also into a lot of the hand-strengthening stuff.

One thing that might interest you is magic and slight of hand? That takes a lot of dexterity and practice.
posted by Marie Mon Dieu at 5:42 AM on September 24, 2012

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