I didn't share this openly on my social media channels, so this may come as a surprise to many of you. I was in a major car accident just about 11 days after our wedding in March. I totaled my car, my most favorite car in the world, probably ever, that I'd just paid off about 3 months before. The car title is still sitting in my drawer, fresh and winkle-free.
It was a pretty bad wreck. All my airbags popped, front and sideways. In that moment of impact, when I saw the car in front of me merge abruptly into my lane without signal, I thought this was going to be it. Like, the end of it all. I stopped traffic on the freeway completely (during rush hour in the morning, no less) and it turned out to be a 5 car collision. Thanks to the grace of God, no one was injured in a major way, and the ambulances/cops came within minutes. And because it wasn't my fault, I received a check for the damages to my car within a couple of weeks from my insurance company. So there are a few silver linings in this unfortunate incident since I'll be getting a new car soon.
Needless to say, the accident brought a lot of new perspectives to my thinking this past month. The way I think about my life, the balance between spiritual fullness and material possession, the love I have for my family, the need to have a "job" that pays well and also fulfills me personally... all of these things, when my perspectives have shifted, became easier to put value on and prioritize. Here are a few ways that this car accident had changed my thinking:
1) Being debt-free has obvious perks. But I didn't know it could turn a curse into a blessing.
Being currently unemployed and getting into a major car accident together sounds like a surefire way to put my life in absolute misery. And it very easily could've. But thanks to Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace University, my husband and I have become debt-free just a few months back. So while I was devastated that my precious A5 had been totaled, I wasn't necessarily worried about my livelihood being jeopardized. I knew with our savings we could replace my car easily (because I wouldn't be buying a brand new car anyway and a used card is much cheaper), even without the reimbursement check from the insurance company. The check from the insurance company felt like a gift from the universe.
2) I'd never thought about how I'd like to be "handled" if I ceased to exist today. I'd want my loved ones to be comforted in knowing that they'd be doing the right things for me.
This thought crossed my head as I stood on the shoulder of a busy Tuesday morning CA-15 high way, my gaze fixed upon my terribly wrecked car parked on the side of the freeway: If I died today, how would I want to be buried, where would I want to be buried, and how would I want my family to dress me? The absurdity of these thoughts caught on very quickly, but the questions still irk at me. It's not something I'd thought about, like ever. I suppose most people don't think about morbid things like this on a daily basis. Perhaps older people have their life time to think about it, sick people have the time they lay in the bed to think about it. I never had to ...but now I'm going to.
3) Spend time with your family and loved ones, because you just don't know how much time you have.
I am so glad we decided to spend time with family right after the wedding instead of going on a honeymoon. The truth is, beautiful beaches and snow covered hills are always going to be there, but we don't get to see our beloved families all the time. In the few hours right after the car accident, I remember having this thought that I wouldn't leave the world without a lot of regret because I'd just seen all my loved ones and had the best time with everyone. What more can you ask in life, really?
4) Do what you love. If you don't know what you love, figure it out.
This has more or less been my life philosophy so far. But ever since the accident, it hasn't been clearer. From now on, I know I would write more, travel more, get in touch with people I care about more (even when they act like they don't have time for me), read more, and hug my cats more (as if it's possible). I am so glad this incident happened during the time of my job hunt, because it has steered me in a direction where I didn't know I was leaning toward. If I was to cease to be today, I don't want to be stuck at a something I hate where I devote 50% of my waking hours to. It's not worth it.
Overall, I am just grateful to be alive and healthy. I am so grateful for everything I have in life, and I know that I am blessed to be in the position where I am. I am glad I get to be searching for a job, to have a platform to express my thoughts with you guys, and to have the opportunity to help people in whatever little ways I can. I am grateful for you!
Disclaimer: Thank you Mint Julep Boutique for sponsoring my outfit in this post!
All photography by Natalie Alvarado @ Stylenfuse