I think about this quote a lot because it really is one of the more unique ways of saying, "Live life NOW." Before my accident, I did pretty well at balancing the act of keeping my past in the past, where it belongs, working hard for my dream career and being the best at it while still all the while, truly enjoying and living in the present. Of course those were the years that I lived in New York City and having dreamt for so long about living my life in New York and chasing after my dream of acting and singing; Being one of the greatest performer to ever hit the silver screen AND Broadway, I was actually finally doing it. I had made the biggest decision in my life - to move to The Big Apple and meet up and live with a friend of mine who was already there.
I remember clearly the day I decided to really do it, really make the move. I was working as a personal trainer in Portland, OR and I was on my break. After listening to a voicemail from my good friend that was already living in New York, I called her back. We were going through the very same experience - boy problems. So after listening to what she was going through, I decided to tell her the situation I was in with my cheating, lying, abusive boyfriend. We found comfort in one another, that we weren't going through this awful shit alone. Then suddenly, without really thinking, I told her, I was moving up there with her. That it was time for me to stop being a victim of this guy and spread my wings, finally break free to be ME and chase after my dream. After we hung up, both all excited and giddy, I did not think twice about the big decision I just made or doubt myself. It just felt so right.
Then came the moment where I would have to tell my parents. And I remember everything about that, too. My mom and dad were in the kitchen cooking dinner. I had come home for either a weekend or it was a holiday. I knew they were going to have questions and concerns but I just said it, "I'm moving to New York. I'm going to move in with my friend who already has a place in Brooklyn and I'm going to follow my heart and passion. It's time for me to go. Actually, it's past time. I should have done this sooner." And my parents kind of looked at me, blinking their eyes a few times like a cartoon, and could only reply, "we'll talk more about this later." But I didn't feel scared that they might find ways to prevent me from moving all the way across the country only cause they would worry with me being so far away in such a big city on my own. They knew this was my dream and I knew ultimately in the end, they couldn't say or do anything to keep me from going.
At this moment in my life, I had turned a corner. I was finally stepping away from being with a scumbag guy and was moving MY LIFE forward without thinking once about leaving this guy I really gave my whole heart to for four years. I was doing what was right for my life and nothing else. I was becoming the fiercely independent and strong woman I once was until I met this guy who crushed all that in me. I felt ALIVE!!! And my God, did it feel incredible; like I had broken free of my chains and nothing was going to stop me now.
New York was EVERYTHING AND MORE than I ever dreamed or expected. I would go to bed at night, sharing a bed with my dear friend in a cute little apartment in the Williamsburg area of Brooklyn, not being able to sleep cause I would be thinking about all that I did and saw that day; and I couldn't fall asleep, even though I tried so hard cause I couldn't wait for what tomorrow would bring. I was just 23 years old, living on my own in the biggest and most beautiful and inspiring city in the U.S., just beginning one of the most exciting times in any young persons life - graduated from college, living on your own, and during a wonderful period in everyone's life, my twenties! A time when you've really, really struck out in life on your own with being responsible for bills and making a career for yourself, armed with the tools you learned in college.
I was living life completely. I was taking chances and being CRAZY, just like the quote above says. I didn't hesitate a heartbeat when making the decision to move to New York, 3,000 miles away from home. Everything that had happened in my past I locked away to stay in my past never to taint my present or future and which also allowed me to live in the here and now completely and focus on creating a future that I had always dreamed of. I was truly living in the moment of time in which I was the oldest I had ever been while at the same time also knowing it was the youngest I would ever be again. I was living life the way it should be lived.
And then I came home to Oregon for a little bit of a break just to get away from the hustle and bustle of life in a city like New York and cause I missed home, when tragedy struck my life, at the height of my young life at 26yrs old, nearly killing me, and everything changed for me, my way of life, and the dream I held so close to my heart.
The way I lived my life when my accident happened changed for the worse because I knew I would never again have the life I was living in New York before the accident. But now, 7yrs later looking back at those beginning years of my life post accident, how I viewed life then was normal. I can't be upset with myself for going backwards a bit. I mean, my life was turned upside down and inside out in just a matter of seconds! I mourn and grieve still, everyday, even now, for the life I was robbed of and the dream that was my whole world but is now shattered, never to be a possibility in my life again.
But now, I look at that quote and I see my first great challenge in getting some kind of a life back now - putting my past back in the past where I once held it never allowing it to torture me in my present or future. As well as taking chances, being crazy, accepting my scars as part of me now - my battle wounds that show I survived one of the most terrible ways of being hurt and possibly killed - and not hesitating on taking those chances in my life now. Always easier said than done, but, the art of survival is a story that never ends.
Peace and Love.