It’s Friday night and there is only one place I want to be. A couple of my best friends and former roommates are going out tonight and I just want to be right there with them. I want to catch up on old times and simply just be there. I wish things were how they used to be but times have changed. So tonight I’ll spend the night alone and just have to reflect back on those good times. I’m stranded here in my apartment. I can’t drive anywhere. Even if I had a car I could not press down the gas. I have to be driven everywhere in my van and tonight that’s just not an option.
I miss the days where I could just be spontaneous and do whatever I wanted. I could just jump in my car and head to wherever I wanted to get go. I would not have to worry about steps and whether or not I could get into a place. I used to be down to do just about anything and I could do just about anything. But now there are too many restrictions and that sometimes drives me insane. I see students walking around campus going from party to party. I would tag along with them but I can’t even get up the steps which are literally on every single house on campus. It breaks my heart to think about all that I am missing out on.
I got a new friend and neighbor who is now 30 and has been a chair his entire life. I asked him what he thought was worse which was being in a wheelchair your entire life or having those experiences of walking and running and everything an able-bodied person can do and then losing it all. He told me that my situation was worse. He doesn’t know what he’s missing out on. I don’t really know if I agree but I do think it makes it harder to deal with. He can’t believe how comfortable I am in a wheelchair after only a year and a half and he’s been doing it his whole life and he still struggles with it. He says said I’m the 1st person in a wheelchair that he can actually stand. He says that most are just so bitter about their situation that they are hard to be around or they just don’t do anything with themselves. When he’s with me he says he does not feel like he’s hanging out with someone in a wheelchair. He doesn’t even see the chair and I hope that goes for everyone else. See me for who I am and not for what happened to me. I’m still the same person that I’ve always been.
I want to be the one who never let the wheelchair get in the way. I want to defy the odds. I’m sure some people found out that I was paralyzed they thought that so many of my dreams were crushed. But it’s just the opposite and because of it so many more new dreams are coming true. Sure I’ll never run 35 feet off in slalom like I dreamed of for those of you who know what that means. I never lived up to my potential as I was getting better every year. You won’t see me running a marathon in my lifetime. I never got to ride a motorcycle. I won’t be standing up when I kiss my wife and say I do. But one day I will say I do. One day I’ll have everything I ever dreamed of. Maybe it won’t be that house on a private ski lake. I won’t wake up and ski every day before work. But I will wake up and go on to do what I love and to make a difference. God works in mysterious ways and slowly I’m figuring out this mystery.
It’s not easy to be me. I don’t think most people can handle it. But I bet because of it I’m stronger mentally than 99% of the people in this world. I don’t care if 99% of the people in this world are physically stronger than me. You can only do so much with your physical body. I’ve been through hell and back and I just keep going. I amaze myself sometimes when I think about all that I’ve been through. They didn’t think I was going to live but I sure as hell am living today. You don’t know what you’re made of until you are pushed to your limits. I’ve survived the psych ward and a huge mental breakdown. I’ve survived a horrific car crash and battled through the paralyzing injuries. And while battling that I once again had to battle another huge mental breakdown. I fought for my mind and I fought for my life. I continue to fight for my body and I thank God for every little thing that I get back. That fight will never end even though at times it seems like I’m getting nowhere. This year I’ve probably done around 400 hours of therapy and I continue to push myself. I thought I’d be walking out of the hospital. I thought I’d be walking a year after my accident. I thought that after this therapy I’d be walking again. But that didn’t happen and it most likely never will. What I have to pray for now is a cure. But until that day I won’t stop living. I will not let my condition get the best of me. Life goes on and I’m just happy to be a part of the.
So who cares if I miss out on a few things here and there. I did not get to do what I wanted tonight but I’m not going to cry about it. I’m going to a wedding tomorrow and I get to meet a girl who may end up being my new best friend. Then next weekend I’ll get to go to another wedding where those 2 friends I wanted to meet tonight will be. I’m also excited about the wedding next weekend because my 2 friends who are getting married met because of me. They met at one of my beer pong tournaments and they have been together and in love ever since. It’s funny how life plays out and how people are brought together. I continue to look forward to the future and try to have an optimistic view on each day. There is no other way you should live your life. So instead of going out on a Friday night I spent the night alone but hopefully I reached somebody and changed their Friday night. So tonight I will sleep well and I will dream about tomorrow.