It's Not All Roses

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Shield Healthcare

May 26th, 1999 was the day my entire life changed. In the blink of an eye, I went from a young, carefree man, flying my motorcycle high through the air, to a brutally broken boy, fighting for life, frozen, in a paralyzed body. The emotional complexity of that day is difficult to articulate and has taken me years to unpack and understand with serenity and grace.

I recall my third year anniversary as a psychologically dark, ominous day filled with doubt and frustration. I had spent three years doing nothing but rehab and felt as though I had hit a physical plateau, unable to progress. I had not yet distinguished any specific short-term or long-term goals for myself — all I was focused on was my ultimate goal: 100% recovery. This massive expectation was accompanied by massive suffering. I unintentionally set myself up for failure by looking too far ahead. I remember sulking with anger and disdain for my plight. I became aloof and melancholy for weeks. I fought against the struggle, pushed back against the gravity of life and ultimately alienated myself into my world of rehab. Luckily, I used this dark energy to fuel the flickering flame inside me. I then set a specific, short-term goal of pedaling a tandem bicycle for five minutes.

The rest is history.

Six days a week, for years on end, I remained focused, channeling my energy into leaving no stone unturned while on my mission to rebuild my body. This masochistic approach literally exercised and exorcised my fury, changed my pain and allowed me to look back on every anniversary and KNOW that I was, and still am, DOING EVERYTHING POSSIBLE to educate, strengthen and evolve myself.

I am not saying my process is the right way, or even a good way, but what I can say is: Peace of Mind is Priceless!

This year I celebrated 18 years of living with a spinal cord injury, behind the wheel of of an off-road race buggy, among friends, with my beautiful wife cheering me on! I now see the world in technicolor and recognize and celebrate all the things I DO have and CAN DO — I truly feel blessed. Honestly, I would not change the day of my accident because through all the years of blood, sweat, fears and tears, I can lay peacefully at night, pleased with my effort in life.

I celebrate my anniversary with gentle, kindness towards myself. I thank my body and express my love and gratitude for my friends, family and the ability to be here and now.

Cheers! – Aaron