It’s been five years today since my accident; mid-afternoon on 7 October 2010 my life changed irrevocably. Elly and I don’t know whether we should commiserate or celebrate. Are we remembering the day I broke my neck, or the day I survived?
I like to think I’m an honest blogger, but like everyone, the truth is I put on a show. I’m reluctant to leave the impression that things are tough, because whiners are boring and sympathy is overrated.
But I will admit I found the recent October long weekend hard. The weather was spectacular and everyone on the east coast of Oz was at the beach. Saturday I moped around the house. Sunday morning I went to church (they had put up with me preaching), before returning to home to brood away the afternoon. Monday we took the family to the beach. I know I should have been content, enjoying the frolicking of the kids and marvelling at the strangeness of the sea of half naked human bodies, but I couldn’t get past the fact that watching others in the surf, when you can’t join them, is a form of torture.
As I said, whiners are boring.
If the perspective of life post injury allows me to give you some advice, let me commend you to take the opportunities to enjoy life while you can. Don’t waste time in front of the computer, since there’ll be occasion enough for that when decrepitude sets in. Get outside. Climb a mountain. Surf a wave. Run a marathon. Go camping. Smash a golf ball. Stand up to a bully. Swing on a rope. Jump off a cliff (carefully). Step under a waterfall. Ride a bike. Wrestle the kids. Hug someone you love. Enjoy an orgasm.
As the ancient poet reminds us:
Scale back your long hopes
to a short period. While we
speak, time is envious and
is running away from us.
Seize the day, trusting
little in the future.
Horace, 65 B.C.E.
Or the prophet Isaiah 22:13 (admittedly, taken out of context):
But see, there is joy and revelry,
eating of meat and drinking of wine!
“Let us eat and drink,” you say,
“for tomorrow we die!”
Of course there is truth here for me also, and for those of you who find yourself similarly restricted. We can whine by all means, but then let’s move on, because life is too short to waste it complaining. Laugh with a friend. Listen to a symphony. Drink fine wine. Savour an aged whiskey. Read a novel (or my memoir). Play chess with the kids. Tell someone you love them.
Grab life by the scruff of the neck, because it is short, and fragile, and you’d just don’t know which day will be your last.