Below is another fantastic guest piece on Time for the September month of my HERE Year. I have received so many great submissions, that I will be posting two a day through the end of the week. Okay, read on; I know you will love Meg's words!
Sticky doors, crashes, change
by Meg Johnson
Like many moments, it started with a crash.
It was early evening, and I was hurrying, and the icy January rain was enough to obscure every pair of headlights on the road. I pulled around a stalled car believing the next lane to be clear, but physics caught up with me: two objects cannot occupy the same space at the same time. Not without consequences.
It was just weeks after my fiancé proposed, a sparkly ring twisting around my finger. It needed to be resized. I was going to meet a friend for dinner, probably running through a mental to-do list that seemed to expand by the hour, and I was probably distracted. White-knuckled on a dreary night, but still lost in my thoughts.
The damage to my vehicle was relatively minor, thankfully; a crumpled driver’s side door, a shattered mirror. I remember looking down at the glittering glass and thinking of Christmas, which we’d just now begun to pack away. To my relief, the man with whom I’d collided turned out to be incredibly calm and kind. He soothed my nerves as we waited for police who never came, helping to open my smashed door as my hands shook violently.
We both walked away from that scene, my first major car accident -- but the “What ifs?” would plague me. What if I’d taken a different route, another way, avoided that lane? What if I’d left a little earlier or later, or stopped for gas, or pulled off to fiddle with my GPS?
What if he’d been speeding?
In truth, the accident shook me -- but woke me up, too. I was overweight, stressed beyond measure, anxious at work and in life and unsure of how the rest of 2013 would shake out. To a type-A personality who prides herself on always making “the right choices,” I suddenly felt paralyzed by the decisions ahead of me. Life felt uncontrollable, uncertain.
The crash came just days into the new year. I was preparing to leave my childhood home for the first time while my sister, also just engaged, was planning her own nuptials. We would eventually marry just six weeks apart, moving out within weeks of each other. All that change -- the crazy, constant change -- had twisted my anxiety into a wicked column, tall as the fabled beanstalk.
When the truck and I collided, everything stopped. Quieted. The other driver was late for work; I completely missed that dinner. It was a swift kick to all my meticulous planning -- this idea that accidents really can happen, that I can’t prepare for everything. All we can do is move forward.
My car got fixed. I pulled myself together. The very next day found me in the bright office of a weight loss center where I committed to getting healthy in a way I’d been too scared to try before. By the close of that year, I lost 35 pounds, created a new home and tied my life to my beloved’s -- the toughest transition I’ve ever had to make . . . but also, in many ways, the easiest.
Sometimes I think about that night: a collision that taught me to be grateful for life and love. For walking away. Accidents happen every day -- ones we see, ones we don’t -- and I realize how much worse that incident could have been.
But it wasn’t. We press on.
My car door still sticks at times, but I don’t mind it.
Meg blogs at Write Meg.