With knee surgery now a couple of weeks behind me, I’m starting to see progress – this morning I did my first (sort of) sun salutation in more than a month. This kind of experience makes my ego soar, as it sniffs the possibility of a return to full activity.

But it took an Instagram post from Kelly Slater, surfing’s GOAT, to force me to view this whole surgery scenario from a completely different perspective.

Kelly broke his foot in July last year, and only competed again at his home break of Pipeline in December. He had surgery again three weeks ago and hoped to be able to participate in the Quikie Pro on Australia’s Gold Coast. But it wasn’t to be. In his post revealing this news, he referred to his injury as follows:

“My gut feeling has been to use this injury as a platform to overhaul and reset my mind and body.”

This stopped me in my self-pitying tracks. It shifted, suddenly and emphatically, my perspective from “I have to get back to where I was and nothing else matters in the meantime” to

What can I learn from this?

Which activities that I’ve kind of shelved can I delve into now?

What do I want to reset in my mind, my body, my behavior, my beliefs?

And the answers – the new perspective – changes everything.

I can learn to value each moment, to opt for acceptance rather than frustration. I can learn, with skill, compassion and pinpoint accuracy, the boundaries of my physical body. And learn to listen to them intrinsically rather than retrospectively.

I can meditate, cook, write, read, rest. I can brainstorm new ideas and reflect on life more deeply.

And there are a bunch of behaviors I can tweak, and beliefs I can weed out, to live a fuller, more authentic life.

This recovery offers a great opportunity to not hurry ‘back’ to where I was, but to move forward into a new phase as a better version of myself.