How Almost Dying Changed My Life
Thursday February 19th, 2015
Face down on my desk in a barren cubicle, lodged in the far corner of the office, I sat waiting for the ok to leave the office from our boss. Thursday was a pretty shitty day in the real estate auction business and though I had come into the office at 7 in the morning, here I sat at 9:08 PM tired, pissed off and missing my fiancee’s birthday party.
I felt my cell phone vibrating again in my pocket.
“Where are you? It’s my fucking birthday Rick, you said you’d be here” Nicole texted.
Dammit. I was working 60-70 hour weeks and yet the harder I tried it seemed the worse things were getting. My relationship was circling the drain and after 4 years of pure happiness, things had gotten stale, we were drifting apart, spending less time together causing turmoil in our relationship.
As soon as a check would come in to provide some much needed relief, it seems another big bill or expense would present itself, knocking us back down to broke and forcing me to continue heading into my depressing cubicle for lack of a better option just to try and piece together what remained of our life.
At 9:39 we got the go ahead, we were finally done prepping for the 9 AM auction the following morning and were now free to go home. Even though I had finished hours earlier, our boss found it necessary to make sure everyone was done with all their work before anyone could go home. A real awesome fucking plan I thought, how innovative and forward thinking.
I quickly made my way to my outside and hopped in my BMW 540I, threw it into reverse and sped off, hoping I would make it to see Nicole before she completely gave up on me. I rubbed my eyes, exhausted by the day’s bullshit and thinking when will things get better? When the hell am I going to catch a break?
As I merged from the 405 freeway onto I-90 I suddenly saw the car in front of me breaking and then spinning like a runaway freight train in my direction. I jerked the wheel to the left to avoid the SUV and unable to recover I veered at 60 MPH off a 15 ft embankment hood first through a chain link fence, then slamming down, nearly rolling over.
HOLY SHIT! WTF JUST HAPPENED?
I got out as quickly as possible looked around wondering if I was ok. I peered over at my car which was certainly totaled, the fence posts had driven through my wheel well and completely destroyed the front and side of my car. A few feet to the right and that damn post might have gone right through me.
My life came within moments of ending. A small change in the road conditions, my response time or the direction my car left the road could have led to a life in a wheelchair or even taken my life all together.
Shaken and scared, I called Nicole but there was no answer. She was probably well into her night out at a bar with loud music, perhaps a dead phone I don’t know, but I do know she didn’t answer.
I then dialed my mom, no answer. Tried my Dad, nope, no answer. Tried my best friend, but no answer.
A tow truck was now at the scene attempting to pry my car free of the entangled fence and its posts. As I stood silently, listening to my favorite car crunching and shrieking as the tow truck nearly pulled it to pieces, I realized how alone I really was and just how lonely and broken my life had become.
I had the girl of my dreams but I was losing her, working too much, letting my work affect my mood, losing who I was in return for what exactly? How many birthdays. holidays and school events would I have to miss to make the decision that this wasn’t the life that I wanted?
Eventually Nicole called and came to pick me up from the tow company’s junkyard. She didn’t say too much other than she was glad I was ok. I had ruined her birthday, first by my absence then by necessity.
I knew right then I had to make a change or I would lose her for good.
In the next 90 days I quit my job and took what had been my side business making a few hundred dollars a month to my full time venture quadrupling my income in the process. I renewed my commitment to Nicole and we decided a fresh start was in order and a change of scenery was necessary, moving to sunny Scottsdale, Arizona.
It took nearly losing my life and my family for me to realize that my life was my own to live. I need not follow the plan of everyone else just because that is what was expected. I ventured out to sink or swim, and what I discovered was that life began for me right at the edge of desire.
Nothing short of a near death experience could jar me from my waning existence, a life where I sat in traffic 3 hours a day just to sit at a cubicle for 8-12 hours, only to scrape by a meager life where seemingly everything was out of my control.
Taking the reigns to my own life, I accomplished more in 90 days that I had in the previous 9 years.
Where is your life hiding?
Need you nearly die just to discover that you can actually live?
I hope not.
My trigger point happened that cold February night standing on the side of the road, watching my dream car torn to shreds while not having a friend in the world able to even tell my story too. I only pray that you not wait so long in your own journey to begin living your life’s purpose and that you do so before you lose something or someone that you are unable to get back.