It only seemed like yesterday when my eyes woke up for the first time. Yet, ten years have gone by since 7:28 AM the 22nd of December. That time when my eyes woke, I didn’t find myself under the comfort of my comforters on my bed, but yet on the frigid blacktop of Damen Ave mere feet from the intersection of Damen/North/Milwaukee. When I had come to my senses, I had just realized that I had been hit by a car, knocked unconscious, and would be there for 45 minutes while cars whizzed by me in both directions. Luckily, I had some angels keep watch over me, including the person who hit me while the ambulance was on its way. I’d find out the ambulance would not make it, a fire truck arriving in its stead.
I remember pleading with God as I came to, “Please let me live. Please don’t let me be paralyzed. I promise to do good in this world. I promise to help. I promise to tell the people I love that I love them.” Ever since, I’ve believed in the power of moments, that it takes but a moment to change someone’s life for the better or for the worse, that we have the power to do good or to do bad, that it’s all a choice, that it takes but a moment for our own lives to change.
For the longest time, waking up was a nightmare. Getting up was painful. Six months after the accident, I broke my left foot. A month after that, I sprained my right ankle. Six months after that, I lost all feeling the left side of my body, the nerve in my shoulder pinched. And a few months after that found a bulging disc in my neck which was the worst pain yet. A year after that, the pain in my lower back became unbearable which revealed my sit bones and hips were rotated in opposite directions. That pain was even worse.
In the years since, my body was trying to overcompensate for the trauma it had experienced. While the world forgot, it didn’t and would find clever ways to remind me of that morning ten years gone. Pain became my constant companion. I would give it a heavy dose of laughter and good times, but there were days when most certainly that wasn’t enough. After a long while, we got used to each other’s company. It didn’t stop me from doing the things I wanted. I had adventure ingrained in my soul and seized every moment to live and live again, to love and love again.
I think all the things I would have never done and the places I would have never experienced had I not woken up. I would have never lived in Sausalito, the most magical place in the country. I would have never roadtripped to San Francisco, up and down the western coasts, cross-country from SF to DC and back. I would have never had two epic adventures including the Rickshaw Run in India, travel all over Thailand, Thanksgiving in Copenhagen, to Bogota, Medellin, Cartagena in Colombia, and to Lima & Cusco in Peru. I would not have visited Taj Mahal at least once, let alone twice. I wouldn’t have hiked the Canyonlands in Utah. I would not have gone parasailing in Koh Samed or paragliding in Medellin. I would not have taken two years on a sabbatical each day one adventure after another.
I now, and have been for quite some time, wake up with a spring in my step, purpose in my eyes. I wake up with gratitude for life and for the people in my life. I think of the lives that I’ve touched and the lives that have touched me. Taylor would have never meant to me what he means to me now. Ten years have gone by. And I think of all the people I’ve met that I never would have if I had never woken up. I think of all my friends at Glassdoor and Upwork; I would never have met most of them. I think of my friends in the Bay Area; I would not have met most of them. I think of my travels around the country and around the globe; I would not have met most of them. I would not have met my niece. I would not have met both my nephews.
Most importantly, I would never have met my person.
Celebrating ten years today and every day.
- The First Day of the Rest of My Life
- That First Night
- Hey Ya – I Remember the Day that I Died
- Suck Out All the Marry of Life
- Choose to Be HAPPY
- 22: A Mid-winter Night’s Dream
- Pulling a Shawshank: a Prayer on the Pacific
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ALWAYS BE EPIC.