How I Found Purpose, Perspective and Positivity in a Pile of Rubble

Last week marked the three year anniversary of a serious car wreck my husband and I were in. As has been the case each year since it happened, I have been thinking back on the accident lately.

In our vehicle, clipped to the visor, I keep an angel medallion, it was a gift from my sister for protection. I’ve had it for 10 years now and it’s always kept me safe. As you see from the picture above, the inscription, in Spanish, loosely translates “May the angels always protect you.”

Three years ago, I pulled this good luck charm from the twisted wreckage of a car that, according to eye-witnesses, rolled over six times in the highway median. My husband and I were in that car–and we walked away from that crash. I was in the passenger side and that big dented in spot you see in the picture (*see a gallery of post-wreck photos here), was just above my head. Unlike my husband, I didn’t lose consciousness during the ordeal.

No, I was awake and fully aware of each time we rolled over. In fact, my exact thoughts were, “Okay, we’re rolling, the roof’s going to cave in–Okay, we’re rolling again, it’s going to break my neck–Okay, this is going to be the last time, I just know this roof is going to cave and I’m going to feel my neck snap.” Not exactly something you want to think about EVER, much less six times in a row.

So to walk away from something like that with just a bruise and a few scrapes? You gotta think there’s a higher purpose for your life, and that something’s trying to get your attention. And it definitely got mine. After the wreck, I briefly sunk into a depression before realizing I’d not only been given this amazing chance, but I had the power to change my life. At the time of the accident, I hadn’t written anything in over two years. I don’t really understand why, except that maybe I’d become complacent, or defeated, but for a while I felt like I had lost my creativity. But having that accident and walking away from it, I no longer felt content to live my life working 40-hour weeks on a “cubical farm.”

I decided keeping a job just because it had the security of a steady paycheck and good benefits wasn’t enough. I knew I couldn’t live my life that way, I knew I was supposed to do more with myself. So, I started blogging, I found freelance work and I published my first novel within a year of the wreck and within 18 months of the accident, I quit my full-time well-paying (but very stressful) job to live my life on my own terms.

Thinking about the accident keeps me focused. Like staring down the expanse of an empty railroad, remembering what happened three years ago helps me to stay on track in my writing and in my life. It brings back not only that scary moment of uncertainty when my car rolled, but also the realization that life is too short and too unpredictable to be spent doing something you aren’t passionate about.

Has there been an event in your life that made you realize what was truly important to you? If so, I’d love to hear about it in the comments section below 🙂

7 thoughts on “How I Found Purpose, Perspective and Positivity in a Pile of Rubble

  1. Awesome and inspiring story, Amanda! I’m also writing and freelancing and not depending upon a steady paycheck, and yes it’s stressful and yes, I have my bad days (worried about money, bills, etc.) but in the long run I don’t think I’d trade it for the world. Cheers and congrats on a smart decision.

  2. We rolled our car (let’s admit it, I was driving) one winter day just after we had made a long road trip to visit my parents and give them the good news that I was expecting. We rolled over twice and I called out “Tom?” “Tom?” both times and he answered. We didn’t have an angel, except the one in our hearts, but we did have safety belts. Our only injury was shock. The car was a wreck. The police told us everybody went off the road at that spot on icy days. I kept my job as PR officer at the YMCA but wandered around feeling like a miracle for many weeks. When my baby boy arrived with one little blemish on his chest I wondered if that was a reminder of how closely our famiiy had bonded because of this scare. We would never forget how precious life is and how it can be taken away in an instant, as if it didn’t matter a whit.
    Your vivid writing certainly started a chain of thought here! Thanks.

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