When we are growing up we are faced with all kinds of choices a consequences and as children that we are blissfully unaware of. Do we want a cookie or a doughnut? If we finish our vegetables then we get dessert; if we go to bed early than mommy will read us a bedtime story, etc. At a young age we don’t really associate making a choice with sacrificing one thing for another either. It’s only as we develop into young adults that many of us come to the realization that everything in life is a choice, sacrifice, or compromise.
Choices and compromises become exceedingly more complicated as we grow into adults. If we want a family, then we have to save to have a baby; we can’t go on that family vacation because we are trying to save money to buy a house; if we keep eating donuts every day then we run the risk of becoming obese; the list goes on.
I was thinking about sacrifices and choices the other day as it relates to spinal cord injury, and more specifically, the compromises I have had to make and continue to make as a C6 quadriplegic. As I was pondering some of these choices lately I was surprised at how many things I have had and will have to give up in my life. I was having a challenging day, so of course this was a glass half empty point of view, but after waking up the next morning feeling more like myself I made a list of the things that I have gained, and given up over the last 8 years since my accident in 2010.
Living with spinal cord injury presents such a unique set of challenges that many folks, unless you are the one injured or know someone who is, may not think of on a daily basis. I often play this game with myself because while I know that I am faced with seemingly insurmountable challenges at times, there is always someone who is dealing with A LOT more than I am. This is not to say that we should go around comparing ourselves to other people, but I do find pausing on certain days to take stock of what you have in your life is a quality many of us lack. This age-old saying may seem outdated and redundant, but I personally find that it rings true when the proverbial “ship hits the fan” in people’s lives … “You don’t know what you have, until you’ve lost it.”
Here are a few of my choices over the years: Continue reading