How do I keep this positive attitude despite my circumstances? How do I keep a smile on my face every day? I’m sure some of you wonder if it’s real. You wonder if I’m truly happy or if I’m just saying that. The truth is that I am happy. I’m happier than I’ve ever been in my entire life. I’m happy because I have hope. Not hope that I will walk again but hope that I will have an incredible future.
I set new goals and created new dreams for myself and quickly they are coming true. I’ve had an incredible amount of support along the way. I meet people every day that get behind what I’m trying to accomplish. I love where I live. I love the people that take care of me. I love that I’m working for myself and no one else. I always dreamed of being an entrepreneur and today I’m living it. I have the support of a government agency that is helping me write a business plan to help me start and fund my own business.
I never would’ve thought I would’ve had these dreams and aspirations. My injury shaped my future for the better. How many engineers do you meet that go on to do public speaking and write a book? Engineers are known for not being able to write. It’s not something that we do much of in college. Grant writing is in my future and that is how I will use my degree. Being disabled myself I know exactly what the disabled community needs to live and to travel.
I always wanted to work in the field with my civil engineering degree. I wanted to be outside which was part of the reason that I chose to switch to civil engineering. I felt that with my disability I would end up behind a desk stuck inside. That is why I have chosen to do things on my own.
My dreams for building waterski lakes ended when I crashed my car. I am now terrified of water. I’m happy that my dreams have changed because I do not think I would’ve helped too many people by building lakes. I wanted to travel around the country and ski at different lakes that I built. But now I hope to travel around the country and stay at the different communities that I will build for people that are disabled. So the dream is still similar in that it still involves traveling.
So this smile on my face is real today. My life changed directions but I have adapted and I have taken advantage of everything that it has offered me. For an entire year I could not laugh at anything. Nothing could make me smile. But now I’m back to being the same person that laughs and jokes about everything. I thought for a while that my friends would not really want to hang around me because there would be nothing to do with me. But I found that my friends enjoy my company now more than ever and really like the person I have become.
The past couple of weeks I’ve had some of the best times of my life. For three of the last four days I have gone and laid in a cabana by a pool and hung out with some my best friends. I’ll be going back all summer. I still find myself watching people swim effortlessly through the water and remember back to when I could do that. I’ve always been obsessed with the water but now I could drown in a 3 foot pool. I try not to dwell on the fact that I can’t be in the pool with them but I just think that at least I was able to experience it. I’ve met some people that have been in wheelchairs their entire life and never got to experience any of that. So in a way I am lucky.
I don’t let the little things get to me anymore. When I see my friend longboarding I do not think about the fact that I cannot do that any longer but I’m just happy to see them enjoying themselves. I like to see my friends happy and achieving great things. I tried to push them to do more and to enjoy life. But I really don’t have to because the types of friends that I made before my accident were the type of people that were always up to something. I always surrounded myself by very active and good people. I was always the type of person that wanted to get up and do something and I still am today. I’m always on the move and I’m always up to something.
Right now I’m sitting outside of this Sphinx room in the Ohio Union on the balcony writing on my iPhone. I always like a change of scenery when I’m writing.
Reflecting back on your life is very important. Try to take a half hour out of your day every night and write down some of the things that happened that day. Write about how you were feeling and the emotions that came with each memory. Writing has been my escape and without it I think that I would be lost. I think that I would still be bitter about my situation if I never started writing. So give it a try and see how much it will help you.