One moment. A second. The Blink of an eye. That's all it takes, for everything to change.

A couple of weeks ago I was in a car accident. We were hit from the side by a car going pretty damn fast. Fortunately, he hit us in the back end of the car, so no one was killed or seriously injured. Although whiplash and vertigo is certainly nothing to scoff at, it could have been so much worse. Personally I didn't even get that, I was sore for a few days and that was that.

But right then and there, I couldn't help but be struck by how fast everything happened. In retrospect, it was almost surreal. There we were driving along, turning left across the road. And the next thing I know we're spinning around and crashing into the hedge at the side of the road. I didn't hear the impact, hell I didn't even feel

it. I can just remember wondering what our driver was doing, we're supposed to go the other way. It wasn't until we had stopped I realized what had happened.

Now, I'd like to say that this was the moment that changed my life, but I think that is being a bit melodramatic. It did, however, give me a different perspective on things. When you're that close to dying (if we had been hit one meter more to the front of the car, things could have gone much, much worse) you do get a sense of your own mortality. That is scary and enlightening at the same time. It's interesting to see how different people can react to a situation like that.

In our case, we were split amongst two different reactions. Three of us walked out basically saying “Holy crap, we're alive!”, while the fourth person felt

“Fuck, I almost died!”. The difference may not seem so significant at first glance, but it is. Three of us were just ecstatic to be alive, while the fourth was terrified from almost having died. We all have different ways to cope with things when disaster strikes.

Other than the first instinctual reaction, I became almost sickeningly practical. I made sure to get the license plate of the car that hit us, called for someone to come pick us up (our driver was already calling for an ambulance), stuff like that. I just wanted to do things, organize, make things right. I was also restless as hell. I didn't only want to be practical, I needed it. I needed to keep doing things, whenever I ran out I became more and more frustrated.

So scary and enlightening. But as I said, I don't think it was life altering.

Life has continued on as normal in the weeks since. More or less anyway. Maybe there is a slight tendency to appreciate life a little more and not wanting to waste more time than I have to. But I didn't quit my job to move to Africa to care for orphaned children or something like that. I feel like I'm still me.

So I was a bit misleading in the introduction. Everything didn't change in that moment, but it could have. It certainly could have.




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