There are two main things I learned from my accident. The first is to never take life for granted. I cannot remember anything from the lead-up to my accident, or the hours immediately following it. It scares me to think that I could have just as easily not woken up at all.
I was in such a happy place with my life and then, in a split second, everything changed. One of my clients is dealing with her own tragedy, and she used the perfect analogy: it’s like your life is a snow globe, and someone came in and shook things up. It takes a while for things to settle, yet your life will never truly be the same.
The second thing I learnt was that no matter how bad you think you have it, there is always someone out there in a worse situation. I watched that video above a couple of days after my second operation. It made me feel incredibly grateful for the life I have.
Yes, the injuries I sustained were serious and will affect me for the rest of my life (I can never play a contact sport or partake in any activity that risks a blow to the head, for example). Although I will be able to lift weights again, it may never be heavy. I have made peace with that.
I am alive. I fractured my facial bones, but I did not break my arms or my legs. I am not paralysed. I am not permanently scarred. I can lift something, which is a lot better than nothing.
People who have had retinal detachment surgery are at a high risk of developing depression. Multiple operations are common, and you can become paranoid searching for the signs of detachment (in many cases, you can go from experiencing the first symptoms to blindness in just a couple of days). It would be so easy for me to live my life in fear and stop doing things which increase the risk of further detachments, such as lifting weights. But that would not be living.
I will not give up. Every day I am alive is a blessing. Every time I walk, dance or go to the gym, I will feel extremely appreciative. I may never be able to live my life with the freedom I had before, but I refuse to exist in a state of fear.
Over the past couple of weeks I’ve become increasingly aware of and annoyed by other people’s whinging and complaining. I see people throwing hissy fits for such silly reasons, like they missed their train – and have to wait a whole 60 seconds for the next to arrive! I am not immune to this – I used to get myself worked up into a frenzy over the smallest things.
The worst is when I see people complaining about working out or eating healthy. Nobody is forcing you to do it, and some of us would kill to have just one more workout.
So the next time you feel angry or annoyed over something small, ask yourself whether it will matter a year from now. Remind yourself that someone out there will always have it worse than you. Don’t take the life you have for granted.