27: The Next Chapter

On my 24th birthday I wrote this letter to myself. Little did I know that a month later my life would drastically change.

24 starts today… December 17th, 2010. I have a feeling about this year. It just takes ahold of me when I think about it. There is this sense of optimism that can only mean one thing for me. This is my time. It could have started a few years back but it did not feel right. It took a couple years to let everything soak in.

24 is a transition age, just as 18 is a transition age and 21 is a transition age. At 18 you earn your independence. Then at 21 you are tested once again. Over the next few years you learn how to deal with independence. Everything is on you now and you must learn how to manage this power or life can drop you on your face in a split second. It takes a few years to grow up. This is something you will learn as you grow older. There really is no better teacher than time.

At 24 I feel that life has just thrown me a thousand different road maps. I can chose any direction that I would like. It is hard to know which direction will make me happiest or maybe the path that I am familiar with is what I should stick to? Life has only been good to me so far. Why should I leave it all behind?…

I went on to talk about my plans for the future which included moving to California and leaving my family behind. I wasn’t sure of this though because my family was and always will be the most important thing in my life. One month later came the accident and all of my dreams that I had were shattered and a new dream came into fruition.

I had that sense of optimism and a feeling about that year but this was not at all what I envisioned. I had to fight for my life that I had already lost at the scene of the accident. I was delusional for a month and for the next three months I spent my time in the hospital fighting to get back to the life that I once had. I was so sure of myself that everything would come back but eventually I realized that the paralysis was winning.

I came home to a life that I thought was no longer worth living. My entire life up to that point I would see results when I worked hard for something. Now I was pushing myself harder than I ever had in my entire life but I was not seeing results. Tears came running down my face every day as I explained my frustrations to my mom.

That first year made me realize what I was made of. Eventually I moved on and found my purpose. I have talked a lot about dreams and goals in the past. Once I shifted my focus away from the dream of walking and towards helping others I realized why I was still here. New people came into my life that helped to put a smile on my face. New opportunities came about and I took advantage of all of them.

I loved my first 24 years. It was one hell of a party and a hell of a way to end it. But now I truly celebrate every day that I’m alive. I learned to grow up quickly from everything that I went through. I can honestly say that I did not have one bad day since I turned 26. If I ever start to feel down on myself I think back to that first year and promise myself to never get back to that state of mind.

On January 1, 2013 I promised that this past year I would prove to God why I was worth saving. I believe that I have done more than enough to prove that point but I could not have done it without his guidance. The opportunities that I had this past year were endless. I tried to take advantage of all of them. At 26 I had the most exciting year of my life.

Now at 27, the sense of optimism that I have for this coming year is much greater than I had at 24. I think at 24 I was sensing a new beginning and that came true. Never in my wildest nightmare did I even dream about the possibility of being paralyzed one day, but what was once what I thought a nightmare has now turned into the life of my dreams.

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