Another year around the sun, and here we are! Nope it’s not my birthday but today is a pretty special day for me. Today is the 3rd anniversary of my accident and that awful turned wonderful night that changed my life. As we navigate life in a pandemic, the one thing I learned over the past few years that’s helped me deal with what’s been thrown at us the past 8 months is to shift your perspective, practice gratitude and ultimately find your silver linings.
On October 5th 2017, I had an accident that changed not only my life but that of my family too. The funny thing is, that while I could have moped and complained about things and sobbed “oh woe is me”, I was able to turn that very negative period of my life into the biggest positive. It wasn’t easy but it took a lot of patience, resilience and soul searching along the way. While some people settle into the dark clouds, I looked for the silver linings. It’s those silver linings that lifted me up, and were able to get me to the place I am today.
For those of you who don’t know my story, in a nutshell I hit my head. I hit it so hard that I ended up with a concussion and whiplash if you can believe it. I struggled for the next month with severe headaches and migraines but being the loyal employee that I was, I kept on going to work and working the crazy hours that I was used to. I did this even after being told by the doctors at the hospital to slow down, take a pause and give my brain the rest it needed. And then I just couldn’t take it anymore, and life went on hold.
While the headaches got worse, I was also unable to do the “normal” things we just take for granted. I couldn’t read, write, deal with computer screens, lights, or noise and I couldn’t drive. I couldn’t even handle crowds or going to a supermarket because all the lights and aisles became overwhelming and would over-stimulate me. I even started to notice that I was reversing the letters and words when I tried to read, and I was starting to need to sound out words that I saw. But worst of all I couldn’t handle listening to my children play or to their laughter. I found myself locked in my room in complete darkness – literally. But in that time of darkness, I found the greatest clarity. And I did that by finding my silver linings.
During my recovery (and it was a long one), it forced me to really look at my life, and begin to appreciate all the little things and moments that I hadn’t taken the time to notice before. The accident was the knock on the head I needed, literally, to make me pause, slow down and change. During that period I lost my job, and lost many friends along the way. Yes, those were additional unexpected blows I probably didn’t need while I was recovering but my new approach was to look at everything as happening for a reason and there was something good that was coming of it. Maybe that wasn’t the right job or career for me or my family. Maybe those friends weren’t cheering me on or lifting me up like friends are supposed to. It’s now been three years of healing, self-discovery, and learning, but most importantly of gratitude. I learned so much about how to really appreciate and enjoy life and the people around me and I continue to heal, learn and celebrate every day.
As I write this I now reflect on our current situation with COVID and the pandemic. I kind of think the first 2 years after my accident happened to prepare me to be resilient and to better deal with a pandemic. Don’t get me wrong, it’s hard. We can’t be with our friends and loved ones the way we used to. We can’t do some of the activities we used to do in the past and we’ve changed a lot of how we live and interact. But what’s been getting me through this, is perspective, gratitude and finding those silver linings along the way.
Change your perspective
While we can’t control others, or even the situation we are put in (like this pandemic), we are in control of our perspective, how we feel and how we react. Remember you can’t control everything but you can control YOU.
Instead of dwelling on the negative, think about what you are thankful for. Every night while I put the kids to bed we talk about what we were thankful for that day, what made us happy and even one thing or person that made us smile. By focusing on and calling out what we are thankful for and appreciate, we focus a lot less on the negative that may have been weighing us down.
Force Some Optimism
Even when it’s hard, try not to get stuck in the dark clouds. My journey has taught me to look for the good in every situation, and ultimately look for the silver linings amongst those clouds. Yes, right now we may be stuck at home but let’s flip that. I’m home but I’m spending some great quality time with the kids, and we’re cooking a lot and trying new recipes, and doing things we may have not had time for before. Also turn off all that bad and take a break from watching the news or even from negative people. Connect those who are also positive and can help you find the good in things!
So happy anniversary to me and thank you to that night three years ago. I can tell you I’ve never been happier or more satisfied in my life than I am right now. Not going to lie, the last 8 months have been hard on all of us and so have the last 3 for me. So thankful I could see the light through the clouds and find the silver linings that were there for me. Have you looked for yours?