The truck that slammed into me in late July did more than just send me to the hospital. It forced me to take a hard look at myself. My world was different now and I wanted to be sure I healed not only my body, but my mind, heart and spirit as well. It was obvious to me before the incident that my life needed a total review and course correction.
The reasons for this insight were clear to me: Continued financial stress, a lack of connection to life and all that implies, personal and professional issues that were still not understood and a general lack of clarity about my path forward.
At 73, this was all very disconcerting to me. A real need to move forward and challenge myself to make the appropriate changes was stirring inside me. The truck hurting me was only the stimulus that helped me realize I had to face who I had become, discover what I wanted to be, and in the process start the journey that would allow me to answer these – and other difficult questions going forward.
Needless to say, I have been surprised at what I have come to understand so far and the “hits just keep on coming”. This series is ready to expand further now and I hope these words and thoughts will help you too in your search for connection and fulfillment.
I need to let you know that an important piece of information was revealed to me in the police report when it was finally released to the law firm representing me in the latter part of August. It concluded that I was “AT FAULT” because I had been on the side of Superior Ave., facing traffic at the time the truck hit me.
I had turned left out of my apartment complex (as I always did) and stayed on this side of Superior until I felt I could more safely cross over to the side where I would be with the flow of traffic. The traffic was very heavy with cars turning right, turning left and going generally in several directions at once.
Unfortunately, this decision left me with a problem: The man who struck me would not have to face any consequences. He could have killed me and yet he will face no penalty. I felt betrayed and now the money issue and others have moved even further forward in my consciousness.
I have been dealing with the reality that I am “at fault” for sustaining significant injury and endured great pain and disruption in my life – and it is all because of the choices I made! I have finally “let it go”. Now I can move on to the next steps on my journey of discovery.
The Issue Now: Healing “From Within”
I am also at a juncture where I have been pursuing a line of contemplation and thought that has me reviewing the life I have lived – and the effectiveness of the choices I have made to this point in time. In understanding myself better, I am hopeful I will come out of this experience more “fully formed” and aware of what I truly want my life to represent – and also BE CLEAR on what matters most to me.
I believe I will be able to live a more complete and well-rounded life that will allow me to make my own unique contribution to life NOW and not “in some distant future” that may never come. The questions I have asked myself over the past few days cover the range of my life’s circumstances and the events that shaped me.
I thought I would share some of them, so that you too may benefit from what I call the “internal investigation of my life”:
How have I lived my life? With joy and passion or with fear and regret?
Have I made friends that I care about and do I make an effort to create more friendships?
Do I love easily and express my true feelings to those I value and care most about?
Did I make positive and life-affirming choices that helped not only me but others as well?
Did I find my true path in life and make every effort to “live my purpose”?
Have I been a happy person and shared my joy at just being alive with others in some way every day?
Have I been a “glass half empty or half full” kind of person? Have I found fault with others without knowing their true circumstances?
Am I a listener or a talker? Do I enjoy learning or “telling”? Am I a student of life or someone who has all the answers because I know what is best for you?
Have I valued my family and all they mean to me or have I found fault with them and isolated myself from their love and support when I needed it?
Do I love my work and have I found my true passion or am I just going “through the motions”?
Am I a balanced person and do I consider my health and fitness important considerations? Do I walk my talk and ACT on my values or do I just “pay them lip service?”
Do I make excuses for not acting today and postponing taking important steps in my life because I may be afraid? Do I face my fears and “act anyway”?
Have I valued “ME” as a valuable member of the human race or am I my own worst critic? Have I a clear definition of who I am – and what I stand for in life?
Am I excited to be alive and greet each new day as a possibility that is just for me or do I complain and make little effort to find the joy that is in front of me?
These and other questions have been in my consciousness as I reviewed how I have lived my life and here is the result of my own investigation: My life grades out as a D. Now I understand I have done a great deal over the past 20 years that I believe has value but in total my life has been lived in isolation and disconnection – and fear. Of course, my grade WILL rise because I will BE the best version of myself in the time to come!
I blamed my early years (mother, etc.) and my family – and everything in between on my failures – but I got here all on my own. The lesson: I am responsible and accountable for everything that has happened in my life and no one else! Becoming accountable for our choices and actions frees us to become more – more to life and ourselves.
Being “at fault” still doesn’t seem fair to me but nothing in life “is fair”. The point is that I am “at fault” for ALL of my challenges today. What I will do as a result of my review is: LOVE today, LIVE today, BE happy today, CARE today, EXPRESS myself today and NOT wait until tomorrow to start living. I have been given a second chance at life at the age of 73 and I am NOT about to lose this opportunity for positive change and personal and emotional – and spiritual growth!
Living with a heart filled with forgiveness and gratitude for the gifts we have been given is a most generous and kind way to live our lives and I for one have had enough of regret, guilt, fear, and anger to last me a lifetime – two lifetimes! So the course is clear. Which path will you take? The one others recommend or the one that you KNOW is uniquely yours – and yours alone.
The truck striking me opened the door to a journey for me which I KNOW will lead me to fulfilling my dream of making a difference in the lives of people of all ages and leaving a legacy of love behind me – not judgment and recrimination. Which path will you take? I will be back with more as I learn more. I will see this story to the end and when will that be? Probably to the end of my life!
Nicholas Prukop is an ACE Certified Personal Trainer & a Health Coach and fitness professional with over 25 years of experience. His passion for health and fitness comes from his boyhood in Hawaii, where he grew up a swimmer on Maui. He found his calling in writing his first book “Healthy Aging & You: Your Journey to Becoming Happy, Healthy & Fit” and since then he has dedicated himself to empowering, inspiring and enabling people of all ages to reach for the best that is within them and become who they are meant to be – happy, healthy and fit – and be a part of a world where each person can contribute their own unique gifts to life.