34 years old and not wanting to age, not wanting to be older. When we’re in our 20s, all we want to be is be recognized as old enough to be ‘legal’. It’s only when you try to flash some ID to the grocery store check out guy and he laughs and says ‘oh, I believe that you’re old enough’ with a laugh that he can’t quite suppress (probably due to the fact of my husband’s balding head) and being called “ma’am” a few too many times *I know it’s a sign of respect and an acknowledgement that I’m married, but still!*
My former guidance counselor from high school goes to my church, and he said something to me a few Sundays ago that made me very happy. When I told him about my writing a blog to get started in the literary world, and I said that there’s one particular entry that I’d like him to read, about my accident and what lead me to this, he said ‘Oh. That thing that happened so long ago,’ and acted uninterested. It was a long time ago, but it was also difficult for me to write. I had always pushed it aside, and tried to concentrate on how I could better my life. The statement that my guidance counselor said to me in passing almost was freeing, in a way; it made me feel good that it was so long ago, it’s almost as if I am a different person. I am a different person in so many ways. I have had so many ‘real’ experiences since then, experiences at the end of high school, in college, emerging in the real world and in life. My car accident shaped me, molded my personality and values. I would not be the compassionate, dedicated person that I now am had that difficult time not been put on me. My accident and the rehabilitation associated with it was a definite burden, sure, but one that I could and did overcome.
All that time at rehab, sleeping over in the inpatient hospital, gave me a sense of the ‘fun’ that could happen from going shopping at the mall on a weekend with my other friend who was in the hospital and on the weekends my cheerleader friends and all the other friends I had came to visit me was great. The recreation assistants at the Charlottesville hospital would make walking back and forth in the pool and other mundane tasks fun and social. At the inpatient day program when I was sleeping at home, the fun would be getting together with my friends (patients) there on the weekends to go to a movie, or just acting goofy with other patients on a bouncy ball during a balance group therapy session. Going out to the movies as part of my therapy, purchasing the tickets MYself, and ordering for some popcorn, searching for a place to sit with my Occupational Therapist. This is what has made me want to become a therapist, and what better therapist to be than one who concentrates SOLEY on recreation? Ways to have Fun, that was my major in college, Therapeutic Recreation. It shaped what I want to do with my life. I will continue living my dream, after I fulfill my dream of recording my adventures and experiences.
My car accident has let me meet a more diverse group of people, more diverse than before my accident. I am no longer wrapped up in all that I once was. I am more accepting to people who are different than I am, and have other interests, GROWN UP interests. Now I plan social outings with people who have hard times socializing in a public situation, those who have physical/cognitive impairments (though you would never tell by looking at them), and those isolated from others due to caring for young children. I have taken leadership roles in groups at my church, Prayer Shawl Ministry who has helped me more easily relate to older, more mature adults. People in all different walks of life, retired, working, parents of young kids, and parents of older ones. I have participated and led Bible studies in which I interact with people in different walks in life, parents, singles, young adults and recent college graduates.
This is what I am thankful for; I am thankful for the opportunity to be more, to do more, and to have much more living ahead of me. Sure, I may already be 34, but I am only 34, and I have a world of possibilities ahead of me, and to look forward to, the opportunities are truly endless.