Welcome back from the long holiday weekend, everyone! I hope you had a fabulous time with family and friends. I’m really excited to share a guest post from a very talented blogger who actually took the time to notice this little abandoned blog, way back in 2016. Amanda Kruse is our emcee, and she’s got a wonderful, and very meaningful story to share. Let’s make today count!
I write this as I stand in line at the DMV attending to the aftermath of a car accident. And I’m happy to be able to stand here in line on this beautiful spring morning.
I’m happy to be here at all. There’s something about walking away from a bad car accident that creates a ton of gratefulness.
My husband was driving, and I didn’t see it coming. My entire family – my husband, myself, our 2 teens, and our dog – were on our way to my in-law’s house for a family gathering. We were driving on a four-lane highway at 55 mph (the speed limit) through an intersection.
The first inkling I had that anything was wrong, was my husband saying, “Oh shit.” We’ve been married for over 20 years, and I knew this “Oh shit” was different.
It was said with alarm and fear. Our car was in the right lane, and there was a large truck passing us and blocking his view in the left lane. My husband didn’t see the van turning until it was literally right in front of us. He had no time to react, and we hit the van at full speed straight on their rear axle.
The first thing I remember is the sound. I’ll never forget that sound. The intense blow of impact, the sound of our car’s hood crushing in.
I don’t remember the airbags deploying at that moment (but they did). I do remember the sensation of the seat belt pulling so hard it hurt, holding me in my seat as the back end of our car lifted off the pavement and started spinning. The cabin immediately filled with a smokey, acrid powder from the airbags.
At that moment I was utterly terrified. Our car spun for what seemed like an eternity. We finally came to a stop, but we couldn’t see out the windows and didn’t know if another car would come along and slam into us.
After a couple of seconds, we figured we probably wouldn’t get hit. But we were still scared to open our doors since we didn’t know where we were or how close the traffic was.
After checking with everyone, we realized no one in our car had been seriously injured. Which was a total miracle. Even our little 10-pound dog, Sammy, was sitting there shaking, seemingly uninjured (I’m guessing she had been thrown from the seat at some point.)
Of course, between the adrenaline and the shock, you don’t feel anything in those first few minutes. We realized over the next few hours and into the next day, we had been thrown around pretty good – we all had lots of bruises, scrapes and very sore bodies (I ended up with a chest contusion and ER visit.)
“Life is Short”
In half a second on the day of that accident, my loved ones’ lives could have ended, or changed forever. With no warning and by no fault of our own.
As much as we talk about “how life is short” and try to remind ourselves to “live each day to the fullest,” we really don’t remember from day-to-day how quickly things can change. We certainly have control over some areas of our lives, but there is still so much we can’t and don’t control.
And all those tragic things? They don’t always just happen to other people.
That’s a negative thought. But it’s not meant to paint a picture of doom and gloom, or to encourage folks to go through life expecting the worst. Quite the contrary, I want you (and me) to remember how precious each day is. I want us to put all the important things first.
I want us to love and enjoy our lives today. That doesn’t mean we should go all YOLO, go out and take unnecessary risks, and spend all our money. No, because the important things don’t necessarily cost money, friends.
Make today count!
I’m writing about this, not because I have the answers, but because I am searching for answers. I want to learn how to live my best life each and every day. And I figure you do too.
I’ve come up with some ideas on how you and I can remember to make today count, put the important things first, and try to live our best lives each and every day. This list is far from exhaustive, so please chime in at the end and help me out!
Set an intention for each day. I started keeping a journal in January (I use the 5 Minute Journal). It’s a gratitude journal of sorts, but, each morning, it helps me focus on the question “What would make today great?”. Writing this down sets a positive intention for the day ahead.
Plan your day. I’ve started planning how to spend my time each day. I feel more productive and successful when I plan. I set “work time” and “exercise time” and “reading time” (Rockstar Finance, 7:15 am, M-F!) And I write it down. This way I build good habits and routines into the day. Though things don’t always go according to plan, but most of the time they do.
People first. Always. I can quickly get consumed by the busyness of daily life. I created a new rule this year – if I get a chance to spend time with family or friends, I make every effort to say “yes.” There are sometimes exceptions to this rule, but simply making it a rule has helped me let go of my to-do list in favor of spending time with family and friends. The to-do list will still be there later but the opportunity to spend time with loved ones may not.
Be kind. Do something nice for someone else. There is no better feeling in the world than making someone else’s day a little brighter. I try to do small acts of kindness. And when someone has done or said something to help me or make my day better – even something they think is so small – I make every effort to express my appreciation for their kindness.
Short story: We purchased the car we totaled 3 days before the accident, so the title and registration hadn’t yet been processed into our name. To get a check from the insurance company for a replacement vehicle, we needed title transferred to our name.
I contacted the dealership to tell them the situation, and without even asking her, the title clerk promptly sent a driver to the county offices to get our updated title and registration the same day. At a time when not everything was going our way, and not everyone was kind (insurance!!!), this meant soooo much to us. I let her know how much we appreciated the kindness.
Let it go. Some days, things just don’t go according to plan. Stuff comes up and plans change. That’s okay! It’s not the end of the world. Though I’m far from perfect here, I’ve found that when I just roll with it and become more flexible, I feel better and get back on track faster.
Work on balance. It’s great to have focus and work hard on goals. But it’s just as important to enjoy the process of reaching those goals. Notice the small things you enjoy each day. Take it one moment at a time and savor the journey along the way.
I’m not always good at this, but I’m getting better. I set the intention to create balance each morning in my journal. Because when I push myself too hard, it’s tough to be creative and kind and enjoy the moments of life. Sometimes it just takes a break to reset.
Mindfulness. Being present in the moment is hard. I don’t know why we humans always think about the past or future and quickly forget about the here and now. And I don’t think there is a single answer or solution. But I do know the more I try to be in the moment, the happier I am. I’m more focused on the people in my life and what I’m doing at the time. It’s also a fantastic way to keep stress at bay.
Ask “What’s the worst that can happen?” This question helps me do the things that make me feel more alive. I’m more willing take those risks I might not otherwise take, and live my life more fully. My life has changed for the better over the past few years as I ask this question more often.
What say you, friends?! How do you remember to savor each day? How do you enjoy the moments of your daily life?