While the past is passed, the experiences we have along the way can majorly shape who we are.
Things happen to everyone. Life happens, though how it happens is unique for each of us.
I named my blog website The Ramblings of the Titanium Don. Why? Two reasons.
The first is my involvement in a certain worldwide medieval reenactment society. Over the course of the 27 years I have been participating there, one of my greatest loves has been medieval rapier combat — i.e. fencing. I managed to get good enough that I earned a rank within the group that allowed me to take the title of “Don.”
The second is a longer story. I am partially made out of titanium. Hence, the Titanium Don.
Why am I made partially out of titanium? Allow me to explain.
Some days are REALLY not like other days
On November 30, 1999, I had to go out to mail some bills. The post office was a whopping quarter-mile from my apartment. I decided to get some exercise and walked.
I have no recollection whatsoever of this.
About a week later, when I become aware of myself again, I learned that I had been hit by a car crossing the busy street before the post office.
Know what the odds are of getting hit by a car when you are a pedestrian? I don’t, but I know it’s not very high.
The doctors, nurses, and my family informed me that I had shattered the tibia and broken the fibula in two places in my right leg. My right clavicle was also broken, stretching the brachial plexus nerves, which was why my arm didn’t want to work.
I spent three weeks in hospital, three more in a rehab hospital before I got to go home with an external fixator attached to my right leg and making use of a wheelchair for mobility.
Less than a week later, I had a follow-up at the doctor’s office. They took numerous x-rays, and the tech helpfully informed me that I had the most broken leg he had ever seen.
The doctor put the film up on the light board, and I looked at my poor clavicle and thought, huh, that looks weird. What got into the shot? My doctor looked it over, and says casually, “Ah, the plates look good.”
“Plates?” I asked incredulously. “What plates?”
He proceeded to tell me that due to the severity of the shattering of my clavicle, they implanted three titanium plates to put it back together again and take the weight off the brachial plexus.
Life can change awfully fast
I didn’t lose my sense of humor in the accident. I said something to the effect of, “You told me my clavicle was fractured. There’s a big difference between fractured and shattered.”
Po-tay-toe, Po-tay-toe (because I don’t know anyone who calls it a po-tah-toe).
To make a very long story short, I managed to fully recover from this accident, and unless I show you my rather impressive scars or tell you about this, you would have no idea I am partially made of titanium.
(Just as an aside — I tell the whole story in a humorous narrative available on Amazon called The Journey of a Thousand Miles Begins with a Trip to the Post Office. Feel free to message me for a link).
The point is, one minute I was off to mail bills; the next thing I know my life is forever changed. I am well aware, in particular from my time in rehab, that others have similar and worse experiences.
The question is, do you let them change you, or do you choose to change with them?
Experiences in life make us who we are. Tragic or wonderful, happy or sad, advantageous or unfortunate, everything that happens along the way makes you who you are. Many of these, and their consequences or circumstances, are beyond your control — like getting hit by a car or served with divorce papers or similar. What you take away from this, however, is yours to choose.
I saw the choices before me
As I was recovering from my injuries, I realized that I had three choices for my life.
· Let it happen, just go with the flow, let life live me, and heal as time allows.
· Curl up in a ball and wait for death.
· Put up a good fight and take every opportunity to heal as fast and thoroughly as I could.
I had moments of doubt, but they never lasted long, and I choose to fight every step of the way.
In less than a year, I was almost fully recovered from my accident (at least physically).
However, I also gained insight into living a life of my choosing versus letting life just happen. I got to look my mortality right in the face, and walk away again. This experience taught me that life is a gift, and you can choose to use all of its amazing features, or just run the demo variant of it.
I learned that with focus and energy, I could consciously create my reality. I saw no option but my total and complete healing. Nothing else, just that. Yes, amazing medical professionals cared for me, but my mindfulness helped me to best even their expectations.
Now, nearly twenty years later, I share what I have learned of mindfulness and conscious reality creation with you. One of the lessons I took away from my experience was that you needn’t be particularly special, privileged, or unique — just focused and intentional.
This is often not easy. It takes time, energy, focus, and practice. But it is worthwhile — and so are you. No matter what life has handed you, no matter the experiences you have had, you are a worthwhile person.
If I can do it, ANYONE can do it.