I almost died three years ago.
I was on a school retreat, hiking with some friends in the woods when we came across a muddy patch. I decided to go around the mud, opting for a steep, downhill route close by. Bad choice, past Luke.
As I hustled down the decline, I felt my momentum rushing me down the path. I reached out and grabbed onto a tree, then I turned around to smile at my friends as my shortcut had worked.
I never even saw them.
The tree failed to stop me, and I went crashing down the side of the ravine.
As I tumbled down, I remember thinking, “How long is this cliff?” and “Ow, this hurts.” At some point in my fall, I must’ve hit my head, because I blacked out.
Suddenly, I came to, and I was sitting in a clearing.
I put my hand up to my head. Blood. I wiped my nose. More blood. My body ached everywhere. I felt scratches up and down my body and bruises already starting to form. I didn’t know if I could move my legs or my neck. It hurt to try.
My friends eventually came and found me, and it turns out I wasn’t as badly hurt as I could’ve been. In fact, I’ll be damned if I didn’t walk right back up the ravine I had just fallen down.
I don’t know how close I came to dying in that moment, and I’ll never know. I could have been inches from snapping my neck or hitting my head just wrong.
Ever since then, my life has been a little different. I didn’t break a bone, but something broke inside of me. I had a while to think about who I was and who I wanted to be as I recovered from the fall, and it’s become my mission to treat every day like a blessing.
I’m not perfect by any means and I have my bad days like anyone else, but there’s ultimately so much I love about simply being alive. Seeing my friends, learning something new, hearing the birds chirp in the morning, watching a sporting event, enjoying a bowl of ice cream — you get the idea.
What I have discovered is that if I treat every day like a blessing, it will be. When I wake up, I always think of one thing I am excited about in the coming day. It could be something as simple as being done with my work at the end of the day or watching an episode of “The Office,” but every time I hear Michael Scott tell an awful joke, I’m reminded of how lucky I am to be experiencing that moment.
I won’t suggest everyone has a near-death experience to get the same perspective as me, but what I will suggest is that if you’re feeling stressed or unhappy, take a step back and reflect on your blessings.
I firmly believe much of your mood depends on your mindset. When I’m faced with minor (and major) inconveniences, I try to take them in stride and remember my mission to stay positive. If I stub my toe, get cut off in traffic or am struggling with a task, I try not to let it bother me.
After all, it’s better than falling down a cliff.
Blessed as always,
Assistant Sports Editor