When life doesn’t work out as planned

St. Basil’s Cathedral – Moscow


I am supposed to go to Russia next week to climb Mt. Elbrus.  At over 18,000 feet, it’s the highest mountain in Europe.  Everything is planned.  Russian visa, hotel, climbing company in Russia, extra day or two to see the sites in Moscow, transportation, equipment.  Everything.

But a few days ago I injured my left foot.  Don’t know exactly what happened but the second toe is killing me and it’s almost impossible to walk.  Internet research tells me it’s “metatarsalgia.”  Which is a medical term meaning “foot feels like it was stepped on by a goat.”

If I can’t even walk from the kitchen to the living room, then how am I going to climb a mountain in Russia?


What if things don’t work out?

What about all my plans and hopes for a great adventure?  Boo hoo.  I start feeling sorry for myself.  Maybe I can go later in the year or next but a new visa will be needed and and a change fee on the airline ticket?  Double boo hoo.

But later in the day I was reading a few emails and saw a story about Col. Greg Gadson   He was former college football player with NFL hopes.  But he lost both legs while fighting in Iraq.

And then another email appears in the inbox about Jon Morrow, who is associate editor at copyblogger.com.  Everyday he succeeds in spite of having a disorder called Spinal Muscular Atrophy.

If you’re ever feeling like complaining about something relatively minor, I recommend reading both of those stories.

Then I remember seeing a young woman on a skydiving plane who had two prosthetic legs.  And she was jumping by herself.  No tandem.  No instructors.  Nope.  Just by herself.  And I’m feeling sorry for myself because my foot hurts?  Good grief.

So what to do when things don’t work out?



Put the “bad event” in context.  How bad is it?  Bad compared to what?  Look for inspiration in the stories of others.  And those stories, like Greg Gadson and Jon Morrow, are everywhere.  Visit Google and you’ll find enough stories to last a month.

After you put things in context?


Take action

I am determined to be healed enough to climb in two weeks.  So I started soaking my foot in ice water.  In the morning.  During the day.  In the evening.

Stretching, flexing, massaging too.  Bought some footpads to protect the sore part of my foot while wearing my boots.

Even tried a Chinese herb.  Not a guy from China named Herb but an actual Chinese root extract.    Supposed to help with healing and inflammation.  But I digress . . .

And if I can’t go?


Plan B

If my foot doesn’t heal?  Then consider Plan B.  When one door is closed then what other door is opened?

I have plenty of projects here at home.  I’ll have more time to work on this blog.  More time to visit friends.  More time to do all kinds of things.  Skydiving.  Learn Russian for the next trip.  Go sailing.

Good grief I have nothing to complain about.  Something unexpected and unpleasant happens?  Well, next time I’ll remember to consider these items.



Take action

Plan B


What do you do when things go wrong?  When plans fall apart?





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  1. A mountain and a snowstorm | More Than Adventure - September 28, 2012

    […] did as much rehab as possible and felt strong enough to  travel to Russia and climb Mt. Elbrus.  Not really strong but strong […]

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