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How to Make The Most of A Scary Wake Up Call

I’m sure you’ve had one before?

Something that serves to alert a person to a problem, danger, or need….

More…

A Scary Wake-Up Call!

They are rare, and they can take an awful lot out of you – sap your energy or stop you in your tracks. But they can also be amazing.

​A Scary Wake-Up Call

They make you question your life as you know it, and have the potential to change the course of your future – the one you thought you were headed for anyway.

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Not the good ones, where you realize your life purpose, though you still might….

I’m actually taking about those big moments, those scary one of a kind happenings/times in your life where they truly take the wind out of you. Knock you around and scare the living hell out of you.

What’s really important though, is to make them work for you. The propel forward they can provide, perhaps when you’ve been coasting along…

A write this as I’m going through one myself. Another one.

You see I’ve had a big one before, almost 7 years ago. A mixture of way too much champagne, inappropriate footwear and some steep steps led me to fracture my skull in 3 places. I was knocked unconscious and woke up in the major hospital for head injuries. Doctors told my husband and family that they had no idea what the outcome would be.

But I woke up (obviously)

Rather quickly considering….well about 10 hours later –  totally clueless (I have a missing series of events before the fall) and insisting I needed to get up and leave the hospital as I would be late for work.

I left hospital 5 days later and attempted to seem as normal as possible. I even laughed off the seriousness of the event and told everyone around me to stop fussing.

I was red-faced and embarrassed.

Looking back now, I was injured and operating on less than full speed but it didn’t feel that way at the time. When the dust settled and the follow up MRI appointments were done, I realised just how lucky I was to actually survive. People have died with far less impact before, so why was I spared? I felt strangely unique, did my guardian angel (my Dad, Nana?) look out for me? Did I even believe in this?

I was motivated and inspired to change my life and make the most of every day!

Now this is not a spiritual or religious reflection. My point here is that I had a near death experience and I survived….so what was I going to do about it?

Apparently, nothing much.

I got straight back into what I was doing before. Yes I was definitely warier of drinking too much (and those shoes were thrown out) but did I use this experience to its full advantage? Not at all.

In the years since, I often think about the initial motivation the experience gave me and had I wasted the ‘steam’ it initially gave me?

Other peoples triumphs and tragedies can also provide ammunition for the inspiration to change your life for the better. To finally step out of your comfort zone and chase those big goals you have long shelved.

But again, they are fleeting. We empathize, sympathize but then demoralize ourselves again to just plod along.

It wasn’t really until last year when a close friend was going through a tough time that I realised the true value of our own unique wake up calls. My friend had been showing a few signs of Multiple Sclerosis (MS) and was knee deep in blood tests, ultrasounds and MRI testing.

Her doctor seemed convinced it was MS and therefore the technician was looking for MS in the scans. The MRI reports were forwarded to the neurologist, whose next appointment was over a month away – an awfully long time to wait to know if you have a degenerative disease.

In the meantime, my friend broke. The doctor and technician all but confirmed MS, and life as she knew it was changing forever. The why mes? What about my kids? How will my husband cope? What about money? This was not the plan!

She prayed and bargained for her life.

Her very supportive husband did all he could to just listen and support her and her friends said the right things and comforted her as best we could. She still (understandably) was scared.

A couple of weeks later, the neurologists office called. They had a cancellation and could squeeze her in to see the neurologist. She jumped at the opportunity (best to finally hear exactly what the diagnosis was, how bad and how he expected her MS to progress)….

But the neurologist said he saw no signs of MS.

He ‘un-diagnosed’ her and told her to come back should anything ever happen again.

My friend was obviously ecstatic. Life was in color again and she vowed to make some changes and remember this feeling.

This new lease on life in her sparked a memory in me. Her enthusiasm and motivation was refreshing. Just like me years earlier,  my dear friend had received a ‘get out of jail free card’, parole – whatever you want to call it.

So, like a nice friend…I burst her bubble.

“Make sure you write down how you feel right now – cause it will pass and you will go back to normal. I did exactly the same thing!”. I told her. Ouch.

I’m sure she thought it was quite mean of me. But it’s not what I intended. I just wanted her to use this experience for it’s amazing opportunity –  better than I had.

The ‘moment’ of inspiration is often fleeting. So do whatever you can to make the most of it. Life is short and whatever you believe in (or don’t) there has to be a reason we are given these ‘glimpses’ or moments of sheer blind horror.

So, as I wait for the results on the pea-sized lump on my right breast, I am praying to a god I have long lost faith in, bargaining for my life (and for my children to grow up with a mother) and I know that this time, no matter the outcome of this ‘moment’ I will use it for good.*

Everyday counts

Everyday is one day LESS of our lives. Don’t wait for one of the dreaded D’s (diagnosis, disaster, death, divorce, disease, etc) to be inspired to move. Yes, the days might feel so long sometimes, but the years are short and we are all only headed one way….lets’ make it ALL count!

Steps for Making the Most of a Tough Wake Up Call:

So you’ve dodged a bullet, seen the light or escaped a ‘worse case scenario’? Make sure you make the most of the experience and look for the silver lining.

After my accident I barely talked about it and in hindsight this wasn’t ideal. With my recent ‘wake up call’ I was sure to talk to my hubby about my fears and what the next steps were.

I found writing it all down very therapeutic. Whether you keep a daily journal or not, be sure to record:

  1. How you are feeling during and after the ‘moment’. I’m not going to say you have to be all ‘rainbows and unicorns’ about it either. It’s okay to be honest and express your biggest fears about this situation. Are these real fears or are you making assumptions or jumping to ‘worst case scenario’ though?
  2. What are you grateful for​ right now? There’s always something to be grateful for – is your partner/parents/friends/children rallying around you and reminding you of how loved you are? You will be thanking your lucky stars about something – so what is it?
  3. What’s the opportunity here (and there will be at least one)? For example, I gained a new perspective and realized that I was wasting time on unimportant silly stuff instead of appreciating the important things more (quiet times with the kids). I was also putting off my ‘someday’ goals for the future, yet I was being reminded by the universe that time is promised to no one.

This has been a great reminder for me to refer back to. Any time I’m stalling on something, complaining about something silly or not being fully present, I just need to have a read of how I was feeling and what I promised myself I would do better in the future.

*Thankfully the result of my latest ‘wake-up call’ was a benign cyst. But don’t worry, I will be keeping an eye on it!

Julie

Wednesday 23rd of August 2017

Hi Gem, what a great article. Firstly, I am so happy for you that you've had two wake up calls and come through (mostly) unscathed and all the wiser for it. Your experience definitely resonated with me as I, too, recently suffered a few falls. Call me clumsy! Thankfully nothing serious but shook me up quite a bit (what ifs can be so scary). Your post reinforced the "light bulb" that went off as I thanked my lucky stars I had not done any permanent damage. My takeaway from it all was I made a pact with myself to take my time and slow down. No more speeding around, bumping into things and literally falling over myself while racing through life. I can tell already that your blog is going to help me achieve a better life balance! Thank you so much!