Life is what happens to disrupt the plans we make for ourselves. Usually for the better.
While some slip beneath the surface and spend their days herding cats, others put their shoulders back, let the waves come, and keep moving.
I had a plan this week. It involved meetings and an endless to do list; it involved changes and a great deal of working. I had to give notice for one job and make plans for another. I had to meet a stranger to buy a cabinet and air dry a row of cardigans and fix loose hemlines and sort out a whole box of paperwork.
Then I stopped for an ambulance.
It's curious what happens in a person's mind during a car accident.
Everything came to me in details and I absorbed it all—physically from the shock of the car that hit me and the feeling of the cabinet hitting the back of my seat, and cognitively from what shoes I was wearing to what song was playing. A man told me not to move and not to get out of the car—he looked like Adam Sandler but he wasn't Adam Sandler.
I was wearing a blue dress and a trench coat and some floral ballet flats. I wore no make up and had done nothing to my hair. I had returned from picking up my cabinet in Eastern Market and it was sitting in the trunk of my car.
I remember every detail of the accident as it happened, and I won't bore you with those, but what I want to hold on to are the elusive thoughts that popped into my head as I very seriously thought I was about to die.
I thought to myself in those moments—no, this isn't right, this isn't fair, you haven't had a squishy baby or said yes to the dress or had a really stunning black and white photograph of yourself taken.
Then I realized my car and all the other cars had stopped moving, no more cars were coming toward me, I hadn't been propelled into the ambulance as I'd imagined I would be—and I had lived.
A few hours later, David and Tony had brought me home (with the cabinet that we wrenched from the back seat somehow) and made sure I was fine and then they were gone. The bruises hadn't yet come to the surface and the pain hadn't really started—it was just me, for the first time since I was 16, without a car.
I walked upstairs to my bedroom and stared at three to-do lists I had spread out at the end of my bed earlier in the day.
I crossed off "wash car" and "get oil change." I took a hammer and banged one of the back legs of my cabinet back into shape. I added "call insurance company" and "go to the doctor" to a new list.
And then I just kept moving... so full of joy I think my heart might explode.