Hey. I’m alive, and it’s been awhile. I haven’t written in awhile because I feel like most of my posts here are pointless and basically me talking to myself, but I know writing my thoughts out help me to sort of file them away and organize them, and holding myself accountable to the words I write has always made a positive impact on my life.
In short, whatever confidence I was slowly beginning to build in my own writing ability petered out and I stopped. Maybe I needed a break. In truth, I’ve been going through feeling like I needed to find myself again. I know in one of my previous posts that I wrote about finally overcoming my depression, and for the most part it’s remained true, but the war still wages. Each day heralds a new battle for me to face and I don’t always win. I’d even say that I’ve probably racked up more losses than victories in the past couple of months, but I’ve tried holding true to remaining optimistic and positive so I’m confident I’ll pull myself through.
I’m 25 now. My birthday was a couple of weeks ago and didn’t bring about a sort of existential crisis like 24 did so I count that as a positive, especially considering how rough the past few months have been:
That’s what’s left of my beloved truck on the day I was trying to bring my Christmas tree home, and then at the body shop where I was informed it was a total loss. After five years of perfect driving with not even a speeding ticket, I destroyed the first major purchase I ever made (and the car that collided into me). Thankfully no one involved in either my truck or the other car suffered major injuries, but I had such a bad panic attack on the side of the road as to have the responding EMTs debate whether or not to bring me to the hospital.
In the grand scheme of things, I know the accident I had was minor. My truck was totaled and I’m sure the other car was deemed a total loss as well, but everyone made it out relatively unharmed and dealing with insurance and the police wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be, and for that I’m thankful. But the reason why I sat on the side of a major four-lane road that I had effectively turned into a 45-minute standstill was how close I came to being involved in a fatal accident in which people could have died.
The impact zone could have been different, resulting in passengers in the other car dying. I could have been hit by a semi. I could have rolled and gotten my father, brother, and dog (all passengers in my truck) killed or severely injured. I could have been on another road and been more careless and driven head-on into another vehicle. I was lucky, but the possibility that things could have been far worse is why I sat on the road panicking and wailing like a baby. When you tend to take into account the big picture of any situation and already have a propensity for thinking of the absolute worst possibilities, it makes sense that I’d pull my hair out and punch a tree before collapsing and curling into a ball of despair. It’s embarrassing to reflect on and remember, and if I could relive the moment with the hindsight I have now, I’d most assuredly act in a much more calm manner. I guess that’s what you call a life lesson.
An hour before the accident, in the midst of a Christmas tree farm with my family and dog. Note my trademark smile.
And a life lesson it was. I had already suspected as much before my brother confirmed it just a few days ago, but since the accident I’ve been much more mellow. Most of the time I’m soft-spoken and articulate and composed, but there’s always been a hint of cold and bitterness that I can’t quite shake. Certain situations can quickly cause me to snap or to stop trying to be optimistic and I’ve been actively working at getting rid of those shortcomings. My accident – or moreso, how it happened in the space of a heartbeat – made me rethink all the moments I’ve allowed myself to be bitter or so down on myself and unforgiving of mistakes and failures. Yeah, it wasn’t a major accident, but it could have been and that terrifies me.
I had a phone conversation with my aunt a few days after the accident, when I was still really shaken up and trying to hold back a total nervous breakdown. (For those of you with anxiety disorders, I’m sure you understand just how easily even a small incident can trigger a full-scale battle for your sanity.) In the call, I admitted to my aunt that had I died, I’d have no legacy left behind to be remembered by. In all honesty, I feel that after the initial grief and shock of it, I’d be mourned – there’s people who love me, of course – but I wouldn’t be one of those people who die having left behind a huge impact on others’ lives. I’m not the kind of person who’s irreplaceable, that’s a reason for everyone’s success or happiness. I’m not a beacon of hope and joy and optimism. I make people laugh, I listen to friends’ problems and offer the best advice I can, I support my loved ones with as much vigor as I can, but in the grand scheme of things, I feel that if I died at the point of time around when my accident happened (whether from the accident or from something else), what I left behind would soon be forgotten. My aunt, of course, disagreed with me, but her opinion doesn’t change my own.
So, it is a life lesson. I learned just how quickly life can end, like on a sunny Sunday afternoon while driving home after spending a day with family and your dog, bringing your Christmas tree home. At any moment my life can end and I’m not happy with what I’d leave behind. I don’t put much stock in New Year’s resolutions, so it’s coincidence that this New Year fell perfectly at a time when I was once again reevaluating my life and evolving.
I’ve come to the conclusion that I’m one of those guys who needs lists to follow in order to get stuff done, so the following is what I intend to change about my life to be who it is I want to be, and to leave behind a legacy I’ll be proud of if something ever does happen to me.
- Let the little things – slights, insults, bad judgement – wash off me, being given little thought.
- Be more forgiving. I always joke and say it’s easy for me to forget but not to forgive. I still think there’s a lot of things not worth forgiving, but there’s always much more to forgive, and I need to embrace forgiveness even if I don’t seek out reconciliation.
- Be more understanding. Don’t give up on people or ideas when things don’t pan out the way I’d like them to. Strive to see things from another point of view.
- Be more confident. This is a big one for me. I know I’m capable of far more than who I currently am. I need to be that person.
- “Take what is offered, and that must sometimes be enough.” A quote by Richard K. Morgan in one of my favorite novels, Altered Carbon. I’ve lived by this quote since reading the book, and to me it has a double meaning. Take what is offered to you because you’ll never know when it’ll be offered to you again and life is made up of experiences and opportunities, and God knows I’ve missed too many. And the second clause, meaning to be content with what is given and to not overreach or be disappointed because it’s not attainable or not exactly how or what I expected. What this quote boils down to is: be happy, and don’t be greedy or overextend.
- Be healthier. As of this post, I’ve worked out every night for roughly three months straight, and I don’t intend on breaking that cycle. I’m not “fat” but I’m definitely not fit, and that’s something I intend to fix.
Life is starting to seem more and more like a big puzzle that I have all the pieces to, but no diagram to follow. Putting the puzzle together involves some trial and error and sometimes I think there’s a piece missing before I stumble upon it. Little by little I add on to the puzzle, starting to get an idea of what it’ll look like when it’s complete. It’s challenging but there’s lots of joy and learning in the process. Sometimes I need to simply sit back and think for a bit to realize it’s all coming together.
Work is good. I’m more than confident in my abilities there now. I think I’m a solid leader and the cashiers I’m in charge of have done a lot to make me feel that way. My fellow supervisors and I make a great team and even management is supportive of us and we of them. More importantly, and sometimes the only reason why I can continue to deal with working in retail, I’ve made some incredible life-long friends at work. Nearly everyone I work with is someone I can call friend – some even feel like family to me, and that’s big for someone who’s always been a bit of a shy loner. Our friendships transcend work. These are people who I’d put my life on the line for if the need was there, and we make the environment one of mutual respect and support. Even though I’m in an authority position, the cashiers I work with never abuse our friendship and I never ask them to do anything I wouldn’t do myself. A leader leads from the front and respects everyone who helps him. A friend defends and supports his friends. Even on the worst of days at work, I can always look onto the sales floor and find a friend to make me smile, whether it’s a manager or a supervisor or a cashier. It’s a great work environment when you work with people you can consider family, and I’m grateful for it.
Judging by the length and verbosity of this post, I’m starting to think I’ve found the spark to set alight the pilot light of writing once more. Hopefully. I miss it, but I’ve never been proud of what I’ve written. Even this post feels embarrassing, but it feels therapeutic to put these words to the (digital) page and hold myself accountable to them. And hey, one of my biggest writing goals is to cast away the stigma of anxiety and depression so at the very least, I can pretend posts such as this one will help someone out there experiencing similar problems as I do. Maybe they’ll even start their own blog or creative outlet in an attempt to free themselves of their issues.
I’ve got to get back to writing my stories. There’s so many worlds I want to make people travel to, to explore a myriad of ideas and themes inspired by pure imagination. I’m just going to have to work at it.
Until next time!