My Wake Up Call
So, I totalled my car yesterday. I smashed into the gold Camry in front of me on the highway, just minutes from home. I was driving back from teaching a group of kids yoga at a hockey camp in Mississauga. I was on what the yoga world refers to as a “yoga high.” As soon as the high faded though, my to-do list surfaced in my mind and I was back to obsessing about what items I needed to check off next. I was like a dog with a squirrel, chasing my thoughts one after the other so I could feel like I was tackling something, maybe my never-ending list of tasks to finish. The traffic was stop and go. Before I knew it I had slammed into the car in front of me, leaving a tiny dent on the driver’s back bumper, and demolishing my trusty Tercel.
I normally keep my blog posts to once a week, but felt this experience warranted another post. It was my very first car accident, and a dramatic one at that. The main thing is I am physically okay and I didn’t hurt anyone else. I realized in that moment, when I lost control of my car and spewed out every godforsaken swear word in the book, that life is so precious. So precious!!! I blinked and my life was almost over. I take it as a major lesson and a sign that I wasn’t acting purposefully and safely on that highway.
My Grandad passed away a few months ago and I was transferred ownership of his vehicle–this vehicle. I felt like he was there in that moment saying WAKE UP! If he were still here he wouldn’t be mad at me for destroying his car, he’d be so happy I’m alive…and he may ask me what, “the bloody hell” I did to make it happen. The truth is, I wasn’t being present while driving. I was tending to my mental to-do list and not the road. So, what’s the lesson I’ve learned? While it’s effective to plan and set goals, sometimes I just need to be. I just need to be where I am, focusing on what’s REALLY ahead of me and relax with what is. I needed to accept that the traffic was aggressive, and not use the stop-time to think about other things. I promise to myself that going forward I will stay fully focused on the road and ignore my thinking-brain that wants to always be on overdrive.
Lastly, I’m so grateful to my mum who made the ordeal a heck of a lot easier and less confusing. I was so shocked at the time, I could barely speak to the police or deal with my insurance company. She stepped in and helped me breathe through it all. My boyfriend was amazing, too, repeatedly calling from work to check up on me and even leaving the job early to take care of me. My friends were incredible, making sure I was okay and sending me little notes of inspiration, filled with reminders of the importance of perspective. Life is short! Life is sweet…and I want to be part of it for a long time. Today, I am grateful to be alive, to have such wonderful friends and family and to have learned an important lesson. What can you learn from your mistakes? It’s up to you.