I used to always say and believe everything happened for a reason. So then I got to wondering, why did my friend die at the age of 23? Why did my son almost die and have multiple life threatening medical issues for years? Why did I almost die? Why did I break my back riding at the dunes? Why did i get a DUI (Driving Under the Influence)? Why is this all happening for a reason?
Insert mindset shift. What if it didn’t all happen for a reason, but what if I can find the purpose in everything?
So I started to change the way I looked at it all. And I can’t tell you when I really did this, I can’t remember with my brain injury. But I do know that when I got my DUI February 26, 2017 I found the reason for it.
I found some old notebooks from right after my DUI around when I discovered Rachel Hollis and I did gratitude daily. I tried to find the good in each day as I rode the max an hour to work and rode the bus to multiple hospitals and patients homes because I couldn’t drive.
I heard Rachel Hollis say once everything does not happen for a reason. She says: “I don’t believe everything happens for a specific reason, but i do believe it’s possible to find purpose even in the absence of any explanation” -Rachel Hollis
Her brother committed suicide when she was a young girl and she found him. What the hell was the reason for that? But she did decide you can find the purpose in everything that happens.
So since I heard her say that, I changed how I always thought that. What was the reason Sophia died? What was the reason I got a divorce? What was the reason I dropped out of high school? What was the reason I got a brain injury? Broke my back?
I don’t know the reason all of that happened and if there was a reason, fuck that and whoever made a reason to put me through all that. But I can and have found a purpose in it all. And it feels so much better finding a purpose.
The purpose my son was deathly ill and spent months in the hospital? The purpose was to get me used to the hospitals and the healthcare side of life that I knew nothing about. Because of his experiences, I got a job in an Emergency Room and started my career in Healthcare.
Why didn’t I get into nursing school and with a 3.6? The purpose was it took me to Portland State where I got a dual degree in Community Health Education and Health Sciences. I found my love for educating (which I am not shocked as I always wanted to be a teacher growing up and would play school). I found my love for the medical field and education combined. I went on to be a Certified Health Education Specialist and for 2 years taught comprehensive sexual health education in schools grades 6-12. This is why I didn’t get into nursing school. If I had and lived life as I am now and with a brain injury, I wouldn’t be able to be a nurse. But I can still advocate and work in healthcare as I am. While at Portland State I also learned a lot about myself, what I wanted out of life and my experiences and growth there sadly led me to separating from my husband at the time for a year. I had realized so much about myself. It never was my ex husband or anything he did, it was all about me, and finding myself truly and learning about what I truly wanted and needed in life. Sad it took until 28 to figure it out and sad it took me hurting my ex husband who i had been with for 10 years at that point and my son in the process. But more on that later.
Why did I get a Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)and Diffuse Axonal Injury (DAI). And why did I survive it and come out like I did? What’s the reason? Because there was a 10% chance that I would even wake up, and if I did the likelihood of being as good as I am was slim. I was 37 years old, up to my eyes in college debt, I hated my job though. So I had searched for the purpose in it all.
The purpose was that it got me out of my job. Sadly that meant we took on a ton of financial stress going to one income, but thankfully we owned a lot and sold a lot of our stuff like dirt bikes, toy hauler, razor and even our house. As my husband tells me it’s all replaceable and I am not. The purpose was also to lead me on a new path of what I do in the medical field and as a health educator and to make my focus more on navigating the healthcare system with a brain injury, advocating for yourself, brain injury education and safety.
It also got us way more financially secure. We can live off one income and still travel and enjoy life. I always say it made me grow up, almost 40 and we finally have a savings because that’s important to us now. We sold our house because we didn’t need it, didn’t need all the room. We needed to get out of our mortgage and we did! Equity is an amazing thing!
We also didn’t live crazy above our means before, but we did have two incomes to live the life we wanted. Now we have a smaller house, no property and no mortgage and it will someday be our rental home which is one of our goals. And i don’t have to work, but I want too and am working so that’s just bonus money for us.
What was the purpose of getting a DUI? The purpose in that was to really show me who I was hanging out with and choosing to spend my time with. It also showed me what a shit show, dumb drinker I was. I should of learned that from Sophia. I should of learned that from my first marriage. I should of learned that from breaking my back when drunk. I made pretty stupid decisions. I have had lots of counseling as part of my DUI. I never drank again after my DUI, so almost 3 years Sober.
I tracked back all the bad things that had happened in my life and shocking they all came back to “when I was drunk”. My husband had recently gotten sober, I didn’t drink at home or often, but when I drank…holy shit. So what a huge purpose to get a DUI, it forced me just to be sober and be a good fiancé to my soon to be husband. Alcohol never served me in a good way. I like to do things the hard way. Never easy. I seem to do big things that totally affect my life, but at least I learn from them. My new way in life is to not learn the hard what anymore, especially when it is also at others expense.
I’m so thankful for my friends who still love me. We are going on 30+ years of friendship, some 15-20 years, the shortest being like 12 years. They know me. Dam do they know me. The good, the bad and the ugly but they are still all there! Love them. 6 of the most amazing women, all their own person and all have done so much of life with me. They have been through this all with me, with the exception of 1 friend who knew me after high school.
When I broke my back at Coos Bay..wait for it… I was drunk. I think hammered according to some people who saw me leave where I was. And I’m sure they tried to stop me, but if you know me, I’m not easy to stop, especially when I’m drinking. This accident was my own fault, I did it to myself. I decided to get on my dirt bike and ride when I was hammered. I remember being wide open at the dunes, and I was following a razor going down a tree shot. Well I didn’t follow him, I flew. When I landed all I can remember is being knocked out. I finally woke up and was alone. I don’t even think I knew who I was following. I woke up and hurt. I instantly took my boots off, that was my instinct and helmet. I climbed up a sand dune about 30 feet, a steep dune. It was also getting dark so I was freaked out. I crawled to the top and thought I was going to die. So I laid there on top of the dune. I heard a motor of something coming by and just laid there but raised my hand. I think from what I’m told a kid who happened to be camping with us was who was riding past and found me.
Friends came and got me in their side by side and I had the most painful ride back to camp. I had one sober friend there who was sober thanks to a DUI and he drove me to the local Bay Area Hospital. I had fractured my back in multiple places and was life flighted from Coos Bay to Emanuel in Portland. My boyfriend who is now my husband at the time stayed in Coos Bay because he was too drunk to drive home.
So the purpose in that accident and breaking my back? The purpose was to learn never to drink and ride again, which I never did. I also learned my boyfriend really cared about me because he had to give me enemas for Peristalsis more than once and watch me go through withdrawal and drive my son to Hillsboro from Sherwood. I also learned- what the fuck was I doing!! I’m a mom. My son was with his dad but what the fuck!!
I’m so lucky that day I didn’t die. I’m so lucky I can walk. I’m so lucky. I could go on forever about all purpose I have found in so many of my mistakes because I seem to have plenty of moments in life that led me to find purpose in them all. I’m sure it will all come up again and I will share the rest. Basically, I am like a cat with 9 lives. I have used up most my 9 lives I think. So it’s time to calm my ass down a bit and not live such a risky life anymore.