What breaking my back taught me about pursuing my dream

I may have already told this story before, but it’s an interesting one, a real conversation piece.

Three years ago, I broke my back.

I am still standing. I’m still walking. I can still run and dance and climb trees (not always a good idea, but…). I’m all healed up. The only residue is some chronic back pain that hangs around like an unwanted guest. But I have to say, the process of healing from a burst vertebrae is not an easy process. A drudgery. A nuisance. An extraordinary experience.

During this time (about six months of it) I did a lot of mental and emotional battles. Most of it was spent in bed. I went crazy with boredom. I struggled with finding a silver lining in those moments. But during those six months, a lot ended up happening, and I didn’t even have to be on my feet.

I returned to taking classes at Austin Community College. I made a ton of crafts. I got a lot of reading in. I finished two drafts of my novel! I created my first resume. I started this here blog!

As I neared the end of the healing process and began to transition more and more into normal life, I kept looking back on the experience. I began to call it a “very, very odd blessing in disguise.” How can a broken spine be a blessing?

I recalled something I had said to God before the accident, right after my mom mentioned that I was starting to get stuck in the part-time job doing-nothing-with-my-life phase. It terrified me, because she was right. I was becoming very stuck. And I stated, “I feel like I need a really drastic event to shake me out of this now.” Well, God does have a sense of humor.

God takes what was meant for evil and turns it to good. He didn’t give me the broken back. It was very much myself, I can tell you that, a result of some really stupid decisions. But he took this small tragedy and made it into an incredible growing experience that I know has made me better in result. It’s made me better in so, so many places. And one of those places is the pursuit of my dream.

This event opened the door for me to finally start the blog that I had meant to start for two years. It pushed me to register for classes and return to my education. I returned to that elusive novel and wrote two whole drafts! And I know, I know with all my heart, none of this would have happened if I had not broken my back.

What did it teach me?

It taught me that sometimes we need some drastic events to shake things up and get us moving. We needn’t be afraid of them.

It taught me that events that weren’t necessarily good can have a positive impact on our lives.

It taught me that opportunities lie everywhere, in the most unlikely places, and they happen in the most unlikely ways. We should always keep our eyes open for them, even during the hard times.

What is a negative event that had a positive impact (even in the long run) on you?


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