It is days like yesterday that make me sit back and reflect on the journey we call life. Yesterday was a day of thanks, a day of remembering, a day of cherishing, and most of all a day of slowing down and remembering to be grateful for the things that are so easy to take for granted in our lives. I think in life it can be so easy to rush through each day that we forget to slow down amidst all the ciaos and just take it in, it can be so easy to get sidetracked that the beauty that surrounds us gets lost.
So this year as I sit and reflect, as I think about what I am thankful for, it is simple for me, it is life. I am thankful for all of the hardships, triumphs, adversities, and successes that life has brought throughout the years. I am thankful for that day back in January of 2008. Now, you may ask why? But it is simple, it allowed me to not just live but to be alive, it has allowed me to appreciate the simplest joys in life.
There are moments when I sit back and I realize how much I took for granted before my paralysis, how many simple joys I just speed right past and didn’t even think twice about it. The feeling of my toes in the sand, sitting with my feet in the pool and feeling the water on my feet as they dangle ever so freely in the water, the freeness that comes with just simply standing up and walking across a room, but most of all life. Yes, I will admit it, there are plenty of moments in my own life that I look back on and realize that I took them for granted and unfortunately, it wasn’t until the day that I lost it all that I realized it.
Although, what I have realized more and more with time is I didn’t lose it all, those memories, they are heightened, I hold them near and dear to my heart, memories that I may not of thought twice about in the moment are some of my dearest memories, but most of all it has allowed me to appreciate all of those moments again, and this time understand the enormity of them. Being able to stand up and hug my family for the first time in nearly six years, it is a simple hug, but in that moment I am standing on my own two feet and I am able to lean over, not reach up, and hug my loved ones. Being able to walk towards a loved one for the first time, ever, and see him eye to eye, smiling at each other and being able to just have that moment, dance to our favorite song, be held in his arms, and see my wheelchair sitting in the corner, without me in it. Those are the simple joys in life, those are the moments to slow down for and just take in. Those are the moments that can’t be replaced.
We have all heard the quotes that talk about living each moment as it is your last, because you never know when it will be, and initially it is easy to think how morbid that sounds, but what if we truly did live our lives that way? Maybe then we wouldn’t pass by the beauty that surrounds us in those moments of ciaos, maybe we wouldn’t forget to slow down and take life in, maybe we would be able to truly appreciate the simplest of joys in life for what they are.
So this year, I am thankful for not just life, but all of the people that have been a part of it, my family, my friends, my loved ones, and all of the individuals far and wide who have supported me. As the saying goes, “it takes a village” and in life it truly does take a village. We all have our own stories, our own journey, unique to us, but not a single one of us have done it on our own, there is a village that backs us. Even in the moments that we feel alone, somewhere, there is someone that is cheering us on, and supporting us.
So this year as we all approach the holidays this is my challenge, slow down, stop amidst all the ciaos, and be gracious. Remember that life is too short to speed right through it, it is too short to hold a grudge, and to not tell those in your life just how much they mean to you.