My, my, the time has come. It's been three years since the date of my accident.
A few weeks ago, I was a little uneasy. Actually, the past year has been strange for me. I sit here uncomfortably now, as if someone is watching me.
Someone the other day was raining questions on me regarding my accident and disability. That hasn't happened to me in a while. I almost never mind talking about things, except when the person questioning me is significantly older and is asking uneasy questions—like "if there's any hope" and things like that.
Sometimes, when I am thinking back to a memory from years ago (e.g., visiting certain places), I catch myself thinking about it from the viewpoint of the wheelchair. “How did I get around?” I wonder. Then I quickly realize that when I did that thing or went to that place, I didn’t have any physical disabilities. Then I try to picture those things from the viewpoint of standing/walking. I find that increasingly difficult.
Anyone who knows me knows that I never really get truly sad, upset, annoyed, or angry over anything. There is too must beauty and too much to be thankful for to let any of that get in the way of enjoying each and every moment.
But maybe that’s what it is. Maybe that’s why I feel so uneasy.
I remember the first time I had a dream where I was in a wheelchair. For the longest time, my dreams at night would be of various things, but I would always be fully able-bodied in them. It’s only over this past year that I had a few dreams where things seemed to not be normal or that I was in a wheelchair.
A few other times, I have had dreams of me standing, walking, and doing different things and I woke up with a strange feeling of emptiness. Perhaps this feeling is akin to an amputee who loses a limb, or a mother who loses a child in the womb. These dreams were simple. One dream was of me wearing boots and kicking down a door for some reason. I woke up thinking about how I miss wearing boots. I had bought brand new black Rockport boots right before my accident, wore them maybe once, and then just gave them to my brother after my accident. I would just look goofy in them now, for I have no real use for boots. Another dream was just of me doing handstands. I used to love doing handstands whenever there was an open space in front of me. It’s the little things.
As I've said in more recent posts, I’ve changed a lot over this past year. I have come to really value time. I know people say this, but do they really? Every moment we spend not pleased with our current state of affairs is a moment wasted. I have always felt like this to a certain extent, and that’s why I’ve always been thankful and have never let myself or others stay upset. But I feel like this past year has taken everything to a new level. Now I find peace in everything. Even when troubles came into my life a few times, I simply accepted them, dealt with them and learned from them.
If something hits you, you take the hit and keep going. Why waste any moment feeling negative when we can just as easily smile?
Time has passed by quickly, perhaps a little too quickly. I know I can never relive those exact memories I made before and that the future holds new memories to be made—but what kind of memories? I was completely different for most of my life, and now three years have passed by like this. I have made great strides these past three years but I am unsure of who I will become.
When I see someone running, I remember what it was like to have my legs pounding the pavement and my lungs gasping for air. When I go to the gym, I remember what it feels like having every muscle in my legs, back, and neck tense up as I deadlift the weight off the floor. When I go to a friend's home, I remember what it was like to run upstairs or downstairs to see them. When I see photos of people at the beach, I remember playing in the water, jumping over the waves, and walking barefoot through the sand.
I don't want to forget these simple things, even if they are bittersweet.
I never thought I would have made it three years like this. Three years of paralysis and two years of medical school have passed. Sometimes it doesn't seem that long at all. Other times it seems like it has been forever. It sometimes feels like I have lived two lives: one life has passed away, and another one has started. Now as each valuable moment passes by, I find myself experiencing them as I bear these disabilities.
And I shall continue smiling and valuing these moments.