After judging the reactions of a few people who I’ve let read this, they seem to feel it is pretty heavy story. They also seem to infuse the story with their own views which results in a lot of sad looks and “I’m so sorries”. The goal wasn’t to make people feel sorry for or pity me. I decided I needed to take control of the narrative. Now I’m going to tell you what I felt about it.
- You can be a moderately intelligent, sober person and still accidentally make a stupid mistake. Prior to my accident, I knew that sand bars moved over the winter and after storms. You should always jump in feet first first. So yes I knew better. It’s like without thinking, touching a pot that may have came out of the oven. Or missing a stop sign, or forgetting to look both ways when you cross the street etc. All of us have and will continue to make lots and lots of stupid mistakes. Most of the time we won’t even recognize the disaster we avoided through dumb luck.
- I’ve even done dumb things and realized it was dumb while I was doing it. I made a mistake and got burned -worse than I ever had before and hopefully ever will again. I recognized this almost immediately and I was able to move on.
- I was glad I did it to myself. It is easier for me rationalize my own mistakes than another person’s. I could have spent years in righteous, unproductive anger blaming someone else.
- I also recognize that the day was beautiful and most of the day was great. Even my accident couldn’t diminish that. A day can be beautiful even if something bad happens.
- Diving into that water was like being born again. My goal was survival and I needed to rely on the help of others for everything. Also your perception of time changes. You can experience things that take only minutes but seem to take forever and you can remember them with clarity only reserved for childhood memories. On the other hand multiple days would slip by unnoticed. I would wake up at 3 am and go back to sleep at 8am.
- Modesty becomes a privilege reserved for other people. When you can allow yourself to indulge in it, it can only be conditionally. I have no fear or shame about being exposed in front of anyone besides my close friends. Your weakness and most intimate details become public property.
- I also found out that bad things can happen to me too. Most young men have a few more years of invincibility than I was able to experience. This freedom to live without acknowledging the consequences is one the things I miss most. I ate the apple.
- I briefly thought about fate and I realized that I can’t rationalize it. If I hadn’t broken my neck diving, I don’t believe I would’ve broke it in a car accident on the way home.
- God does not give people difficult things for a reason. He also doesn’t care “if you can handle it”. The ones who can’t handle it are dead.
There were to be many beautiful, interesting, hilarious and exciting days.
But first there were to be many much much worse days ahead.
But that is another story.