A friend recently asked if I would change the way my life turned out. Would I rather have not lost my leg at seventeen years old and lived my life with two legs?
I don't love being an amputee. There are days when I hate it; there are days when it's an annoyance; and there are days when I don't really think about it. But every day is informed by what I have learned over the past thirty two years of being an amputee. I understand life in a completely different way than I would have had I not lost my leg. I have learned innumerable lessons about people and life that I wouldn't have had otherwise.
Life for me is about learning and growing. It's my obligation to myself. Just a few months after my accident I played the Three Wishes game: If I had three wishes, what would I ask for? My first thought was to ask for my leg back, but I immediately discounted that idea. Something deep inside me told me that This Was It. Being an amputee was my classroom and I was here to learn something from it.
I'm hell-bent on finding the good in every situation. Especially the really hard situations. Admittedly it's hard for me to find something good about running late in the morning or smashing my finger or burning the cookies. But the Big, Life-Altering events in life cannot pass by without understanding something deeper about them. My amputation is no exception.
One thing I have learned is gratitude. For life itself. For people. For the simple joys in life. Even for those heart-breaking moments that change the world as I know it. Eventually, I am able to open my arms and embrace whatever I can learn.