Duty of Care


source: deathtothestockphoto.com

A casual look around Instagram and Bloglovin’ tells me (at least when I log in as a female user that seems to follow a lot of beauty/lifestyle blogs) that we all have a responsibility to look after our bodies. We also have a responsibility to live our lives to the fullest. It’s a nice sentiment, until you realize that the way to do that is often to go on expensive trips, chase new experiences (regardless if you have the spoons for it), take arty photos of yourself from behind (how? How do people do that?), drink tons of raw juice, and exercise without somehow breaking a sweat.

(Some people go for a run and they come back looking as fresh as a daisy. I go for a run and fall into the canal.)

I have a slightly different definition of what duty of care means. Two things are, I feel, relevant in my case: one, I do Jiu Jitsu, a Medieval Japanese martial art; and two, I live with Klippel-Trenaunay syndrome, a congenital disorder that has *knock on wood* so far been good to me, but which might or might not get worse in the future. It’s not something I think about often – because, let’s face it, I consider morbid subjects way too much as is – but there is always that thought, at the back of my mind, as I go for a run or train or walk for hours around a cobbled city: a thought that one day, I may not be able to do that.

You would think that such a thought would spur me to do even more of these things, make me enjoy life to the fullest, drink as my cup runneth over… yeah, no.

Sorry, Fear Of Missing Out, I don’t care for your brand of Kool-Aid. (And not just because you are an ableist concept.)

There is more to life than a series of short sprints. (Indeed, speed running is my least favourite type of drill.) The trick, when it comes to long distances, is to make sure you maintain a pace and last for as long as you can with what you’ve got.

Another example: The reason why jitsuka rei when they enter a dojo, when they get on the mat, when they start a session, when they select each other for an exercise partner, when the sensei explains something to them, it’s not just a formality. It’s a statement. I’m ready to train. I trust you with my body. Thank you for helping me learn.

We have a duty of care to each other. We accept that duty of care, to learn safely and respect each other. There’s nothing fancy to that.

We’re just making sure we’re okay at the end, that we will come back the next day, and the next.

I would not have gotten anywhere in life or in sport if I ran myself into the ground. I don’t know anyone who ever has. My responsibility is the duty of care I accept towards others and myself, to do no harm.

That’s it.


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