Being in the wrong place at the wrong time nearly ended my life.
It was a freak car accident, March 27th – a year ago today. A PT cruiser slammed into the side of my car, crossing 3 lanes of the highway at 70 mph. Unlucky timing in that there was nothing I could do to react or prevent the car from hitting me… but also very lucky. Lucky that I was wearing my glasses when the windshield broke and the glass shattered on top of me. Lucky my car didn’t crush me when it flipped or spun, eventually landing on the highway barrier. Lucky to have lived, walking away from the accident with just minor bruising and a concussion. The paramedics and witnesses on the scene were the first to tell me it was a miracle I survived.
Anyone who has a near-death experience typically walks away a “new person” – it’s frankly hard not to. That morning I was driving into NYC to look at apartments and start my “new life” as a 20-something. Then I was upside down wondering if I’d live or even be able to get out of my car, let alone start a new life.
A lot has changed in a year. I sleep less. I dream bigger. I love fiercely. I’m more impatient than I’ve ever been. I hate being asked “where do you see yourself in 5-10 years.” I used to be a self-declared type-A planner & have well-thought out answers to just about everything… now I just think about the present, the next few months, and what I can control now. It keeps me sane and grounded.
The biggest thing I’ve learned is that most people take time for granted. And this is perpetuated in conversations, culture, and even the workplace – especially for young people. “What’s the rush?”... “You’re only 24, your time will come”... “Be patient”... “Take your time”... A year ago I nodded my head and agreed.
Today, I don’t. I make no assumptions that I’ll have the privilege of being here in 6 months, a year, or 20 years. There’s a sense of urgency in everything I do now that’s hard to fully comprehend – to move up in life, to make an impact, to fall in love, to be taken seriously, to be kind. I have so many ideas and things I want to do and accomplish, but not enough time. I don’t think there will ever be enough time.
The reality is that there are so many unknowns in life and things you can’t control, but you can control the present – how you treat others, how you spend your time, the energy you put out into the world. Life is too short to be miserable or to wait for your future to happen.
My accident sent me on a bit of a spiral, initially in a bad way – I spent a week recovering from all the bruises, trauma, and my concussion just thinking and reflecting on everything in my life – the good, and the bad. I didn’t even cry the day of the accident – it took almost a full year for me to break down crying about it, with a TikTok video/trend sending me into a full on breakdown when I was visiting Miami in January. The accident made me question a lot of things in my life, and I quickly made changes (for better, or for worse).
As a result, I experienced loss in a different way this past year – at times it was loss in confidence in myself, loss in routine and healthy habits, loss in trust in the people I looked up to, and even loss in direction at times because of external expectations and pressures. But all of this made me grow up… a lot. I’m a very different person today than I was a year ago in that car. I’m confident in myself, my purpose, and following my own path – even if it’s untraditional or makes people uncomfortable. More than ever, I’m steadfast in fighting for what I believe is right.
Next week, I turn 25… a quarter of a century old. I still have a lot to learn, experience, and do in my life. And I’ll be wasting no time.