With what I have left… Would you think that it would be less than before? Obviously, physically, things are different. From the chest down it’s just dead weight. I have a hand that has been all but forgotten. Although this one working hand is a blessing that I can’t forget to count. Physically I’m obviously different. I’ve had to say goodbye to all my physical passion. My feet rarely touch the ground. Would you think that every day I think about all the different things that I’m missing out on? You know I may think for a second that it would be nice to get back to “normal”, but the thought of what life could’ve been almost never crosses my mind.
That’s where it all starts is the mind. The most important lesson that I have learned is that the mind is much more powerful than the body. I was once asked after a speech by an eight-year-old (yes, an eight-year-old) this, “What hurt worse? The physical pain after the accident or the emotional pain in the year after?” Without hesitation I said, “the emotional pain”.
Fighting through the emotional pain was far harder than the over 1,000 hours I spent fighting physically to get my body back in therapy. Acceptance took a little over a year. That’s actually very quick for someone with my type of injury. A huge part of that acceptance came from seeing people in a similar situation still bitter after 30 years. It also took seeing those in a similar situation paving a new fulfilling life.
You cannot feel bad for yourself indefinitely. Eventually you’ll just drive people away if you live a life of self-pity.
So I had a decision to make. Be bitter or move forward? I made the right decision and I never looked back. Over a years worth of misery was enough. I had enough bad days and I recognized that I was given a miraculous second chance and I told myself to wake up every day with a smile on my face and optimism while working to discover the reasons why I was still alive. That was four years ago and I can’t remember the last bad day I’ve had. I had enough bad days for an entire lifetime before I accepted this new way of life and what a life it has been!
I wake up every day like I’m on a mission. After spending so much time focusing on the things that I couldn’t do or have, I changed my focus to what was left. What was left was far more than what was lost.
Family, friends, the power of conversation, a voice, a sound mind, the chance to change people’s perspectives on their own lives, and the admiration of the beauty of the world around us is just a small sample of what I had left.
You would think that I thought that I had less, but in reality I found that I had far more. I went through hell and I am thankful for that because in the end it made me realize how much I took for granted and now I appreciate everything that is left so much more.
I live a life now without complaints. I have a career that is far more rewarding than anything I could envision even if I was back on my feet. I have friends making far more money than me, but I hear constantly that they feel like they’re working as hard as they can and feel like they’re not making an impact on the world.
I would take happiness and a life and career with meaning over a large paycheck any day. I want to continue working towards my dreams rather than working towards making someone else’s dream come to life.
With what I have left… I think I’ll be okay.