Charles Swindoll once said, “Words can never adequately convey the incredible impact of our attitudes toward life. The longer I live the more convinced I become that life is 10 percent what happens to us and 90 percent how we respond to it.”
The quote above is one that I have come to live by. The philosophy of it isn’t new to me; I have always been able to find a silver lining to most things in my life. But, today more than ever, I am able to see a deeper meaning to Swindoll’s words.
In early 2001, I found myself in a rut. I was a high school drop out with no way of ever really becoming anyone. I considered joining the military and therefore, I had to pursue my GED. But, once I took the GED exam and passed with ease, I was encouraged by others to pursue higher education instead of joining the military. My mother’s side of the family is filled with active duty and retired veterans of the military, all with very successful and fulfilling time in.But, at that time, I didn’t see myself living up to those standards and that is why I decided to start college.
On the morning of 9/11 I watched along with the rest of the world the horrific events of that day unfold. I remember going for a run after the second plane hit the WTC; at that moment, I decided the military was where I was supposed to be.
Once in the army, I was assigned to the 101st out of Ft Campbell, KY as an infantry soldier. My unit was part of the initial invasion into Iraq in 2003. My second deployment was in 2005 and was cut short after my Humvee hit a trip wire improvised explosive device (IED) on Dec 19 2005. I awoke on Christmas morning at Walter Reed Army Medical Center. It was shocking news to hear I had lost my left arm above the elbow and left leg above the knee. My jaw was also shattered leaving my mouth wired shut for several months. In addition, I had serious injuries to my right leg. It is safe to say that I’ve had better Christmas’.
Fast forward to present day where I am going on my 7th anniversary of my injury and truth be told, I couldn’t be happier. I like to think that if I wake up one day and my limbs miraculously return, you would never see me walking, I would do so much more than I ever did before. You honestly don’t appreciate what you have until it is gone. I meet people all the time that “want” to get in to shape, or “want” to just be healthier. And I say, “Do It!” Not everyone is expected to compete at an Olympic level, or can afford to join expensive gyms with great trainers, but everyone can change the way they live and eat. There are numerous gyms in every area that fit a specific need, find one that works for you. Does it take time, dedication and a little will power? Yes. Is it always easy? No, but the outcome is literally life changing.
I want to share my adventures, my triumphs, and because they are always inevitable I want to share my failures and what I learn from them. I want to motivate others to get off the couch and start living their lives. I want to encourage you to not wait until a horrible accident leaves you thinking, “Why didn’t I use what I had when I had it?” That is why I chose to start blogging.
We all have obstacles that will constantly haunt us and convince us “it” isn’t possible. But until you honestly give it your all, can you truly say it was an obstacle at all? Or, did you just use it as an excuse? Truth be told, my injuries have slowed me down. My run time is slower and much more difficult. Working out takes a lot more thinking and preparing. Obstacle course style races are almost impossible without my teammates. But, have they really slowed me down? Or, have they increased my mental strength and have given me a reason to push harder with each day?
I refuse to accept that I have a disability. I appreciate what I have when I wake up every morning. I live with life’s challenges and happily take them on full force.
Life is 10 percent what happens to you and 90 percent how you react to it. I see myself in the mirror with my mechanical running leg and I am proud of it. I earned it fighting in combat and I decided NOT to let it slow me down. I have realized that, if you really want to give your all, if you want to be more than just average, you must push the limits. Each one of us is different but, at the same time, every person can be proud of his/her achievements and say, “I stepped out of my comfort zone, I trained harder today than I did yesterday. “ Are you willing to be that person? Do you want to have those around you amazed at your ability to take on any challenge and crush it without a second thought? If so, follow me and don’t just train, Train Like A Machine!