There are days that your life will change forever, in an instant, never to be the same again.
You don’t know it is coming. You haven’t prepared for it. It just happens to you.
I had one of those days a couple of years ago.
“That’s strange” I thought. He never phones me if he knows I am running a business meeting.
But when I answered it wasn’t my husband’s voice at the end of the line. It was a paramedic.
“ I am calling to let you know that your husband has been in a serious car crash.”
I can’t put into words how getting that sort of call feels.
“Is he OK” I managed to blurt out.
“He is trapped in the car. The fire brigade are working on getting him out and we have doctors with him.”
“But is he OK” I insisted.
“He is conscious and the doctors are with him right now” is all she would say.
But I already knew it was serious. First of all, I knew if it wasn’t serious he would have called me himself. And secondly, they don’t call doctors out to the scene unless it is serious.
I got to the hospital as quickly as I could. It was a whole agonising hour waiting before the ambulance finally arrived. The reason I was there so long before the ambulance was that the car was so badly smashed up that they had to cut the roof off to get him out.
That hour was, without doubt, the worst hour of my life. Not knowing what state he was in was torture.
I usually have a very positive mindset but in that moment it deserted me. My mind ran riot about the possibilities – are his injuries life threatening? Am I going to have to go home and tell a little boy his daddy isn’t coming home?
All our dreams for the family life we had planned together were in the balance.
After what felt like an eternity, a doctor came to speak to me.
“Your husband is going to be OK. He has a number of broken ribs and is having some difficulty breathing, his legs and stomach are badly battered but he will be OK.”
The nurse then took me through to see him. The feelings of relief were like a tidal wave.
He was in a bad way. But knowing over time he would make a full recovery was a massive relief.
Considering the severity of the crash, he was lucky to be alive. And we both knew it.
My husband and I had been designing the life we wanted for many years prior to this accident. But this awful experience made us realise we had become complacent. We had started to drift a bit instead of making the next changes that would move us forward.
It was a massive wake up call to get back on the case and make the next changes in our design life plans.
So many people want to change something in their life, but put it off. Maybe because of fear, maybe because of concern of what others might think, maybe because of self doubt or a whole host of other reasons.
But letting those things hold you back is dangerous.
Dangerous because it is easy to take your plans for life for granted and think you have plenty of time to make them happen. But the reality is that you don’t know when something will suddenly happen that will rob you of the opportunity to have the life you want with the people you want.
Don’t wait for a wake up call. They don’t always have the happy ending that ours did.
If there is something that you want to change in your life, don’t let obstacles hold you back. Even if you don’t know how, commit to finding a way. Because if you keep on waiting, you are gambling that you will have the time and the opportunity to make it all happen at some time in the future.
And that is a hell of a gamble to take with your one and only life.
And even if you never have a nasty wake up call, keep this in mind:
“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than the ones you did. So, throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” – Mark Twain