Great Life Lessons From a Sucky Birthday
A trail ride on horseback through the Colorado high country in the fall after the aspen leaves have turned to a stunning display of shimmering gold? Sounds like a great way to celebrate another birthday! Count me in!
It was mid-September 2016, and the season had come a bit early. The aspens had already changed to a bright yellow and they were dancing in the wind. Yet the weather remained warm, with the daily highs in the seventies. It was a beautiful end to the hot summer.
I had been burning the candle at both ends for quite a while, trying to complete my master's degree while still working full-time. My previous employer had laid off ten of us in June of that year, so I decided to take the summer to concentrate on completing my Capstone, the final requirement for the program.
I was finally done and it seemed like a great way to score a little 'Me-time' before I had to ramp up again to interview and start a new job.
It sure sounded like a great idea. But it wasn't.
Throughout my adult life, I have had the misfortune of having experienced more than my fair share of consultations with orthopedic surgeons and this guy wasn’t effing around.
This was some serious shit.
When the doctor finally spoke again, he sternly said, "You are ONE very lucky lady." Even before he said it, I knew that I had been.
Having been in healthcare sales and marketing for nearly 30 years, I knew physicians and particularly (unfortunately) orthopedic surgeons. I knew about injuries and my ex had even suffered a pelvic fracture during the course of our marriage.
It could have been so much worse than it was. Although my pelvis was fractured in three places, there were no displacements (the breaks were all aligned properly). Not only was I lucky to have survived this injury, I had just passed another major milestone. I didn’t require surgical intervention.
I had already dodged some major bullets, but I also knew that recovery from this injury was going to be MAJ, as in ‘major’.
A horse-owner himself, the doctor understood my love of horses, trail rides and enjoying the fall foliage.
But he also recognized my missteps.
"Had you ridden this horse before you took him out on the trails?"
The doctor wasn't finished grilling me with questions, as I suddenly realized how careless I had been.
"How well did you know the horse? Had you seem him ridden, or ridden him yourself before you took him out on the trail?"
No, not very well. Uh, no. I didn't think of that.
He continued, "Please tell me you were wearing a helmet".
Strike three - I wasn't even wearing a brain bucket.
3 pelvic fractures?!
This sweet man then winked at me, as sweetly as a loving grandfather, as he helped me to realize how incredibly foolish and indeed, how fortunate I had been.
Not only is a fractured pelvis life-threatening, but I suffered a fall that could have been permanently disabling. Or I could have messed up the previous surgeries I had had on my back.
Without a helmet, I also could have suffered a traumatic brain injury. How foolish I had been!!
I left his office with some sorely-needed perspective.
Three months bedrest with NO income?
So I did something INCREDIBLY stupid.
I am badly injured, but I can fully recover from this.
And forever be grateful that it wasn't far worse.
As the surgeon discussed my diagnosis and prognosis, I was struck with the reality of three months' bed rest to recover. I had taken the summer off to finish my thesis, so without a job in hand, that meant three months with no paychecks and there was no opportunity for short-term disability.
And the medical bills would soon start rolling in. The grim reality of our financial situation during this recovery was beginning to set in.
While I rested by busted butt in bed for twelve weeks, I explored many ways of making a buck from your bedroom. Designed as a short-term fix for the financial crunch we found ourselves in, I happily discovered that there were many ways to supplement your income online.
In fact, some were quite lucrative. If I planned this right, I could build a career online.
The time to recover had become a bit of a blessing in disguise. As an adult, it's rare that circumstances provide you a huge block of time. I had to look at this recovery as a gift.
Recovering from this injury provided a gift -- of time.
I did not want to watch TV endlessly; I wanted to accomplish something. Something BIG.
I used the time to assess my priorities and what I wanted out of life. After all, life is short and can be fleeting. I had just been given a mulligan, a second chance. I resolved not to waste it.
I balanced our short-term cash needs with the long-term focus of building a sustainable online business. I researched hundreds of different side-gigs and tried quite a few of them.
I also got to work on the most intimidating project of my life - building a website with limited technical expertise.
I developed a plan for the second half of my life, my 'back nine'.
Margie's Mountain View was born of my vision of sharing my experiences and the lessons I had to learn the hard way. Hopefully, these lessons can be taught to others so they wouldn't have to endure the same predicament.
I will share my journey back to health but also, my new goals and aspirations for the 'back nine of life'.
Care to join me?