The fact that I’m sitting here and typing this post is by miracle. Seeing as on last Thursday I was struck by a vehicle. Yes, I can casually discuss this while pushing images of the incident far from my mind now. The tire marks left on concrete and the crushed bushes beside the sidewalk that could’ve been me instead.
It was barely six am in the morning. It’d happened in the space of a heartbeat.
I’d gone from walking to work on the sidewalks to having my heart stop in my throat. I’d felt something shot past me with unprecedented speed in the darkness and unknowingly one of my arms went flying in the same direction. With only blurry traffic light to guide me. It took me a second to realize that thing that shot by me, hit me in the arm, was indeed a car. A silver sedan that’d forced its way up from the road to the sidewalks had skidded to a stop on the rock bed of a nearby apartment, after taking out a huge portion of the garden in its wake.
Yes. I was extremely lucky. For the incident lasted exactly five seconds more. The car stopped for only a second before the tires turned and zoomed back onto the road. As suddenly as it came, it was then gone, leaving me in a state of shock.
The epiphany: ‘I’d almost died’ shook through me.
And then came the gnawing sense of emptiness and a wave of fear. The fear does not come from death itself, as I’d come to realize, could be as swift and as uninvited as a gust of wind. But the knowledge that I’d yet to live. I had yet to experience what I wanted to experience in life was a more depressing than the thought of losing my life…
But then, I went to work. And continued the work week, while thinking, did I survive just so I could do this? Again and again?
‘I’m not dying in this country’ was the conclusion I came to. ‘When I die I want to be elsewhere, perhaps at my own volition after a full life. I want to die with a sense of dignity and peace.’ then I came to realize, that will never be unless I moved to somewhere like Belgium, Switzerland or the Netherlands.
Then over the weekend, I decided, despite how unwise and insane it might seem to others to book my ticket for later this year. I’d been dithering on whether or not to travel this year seeing as I’ve already headed back to school and the arguments of putting my paycheck to anything other than tuition seem like a luxury I just could not afford.
But then I reminded myself of the incident.
And everything became easy.
Winter in Northern Europe it is.
So. Stop being so afraid. You really might not get another chance. So go live. Go talk to that person you’ve been too shy to talk to. What’s the worst that could happen? There are close to 7 billion other people in the world if it doesn’t work out with one. Go explore the cities of the world. Do what brings you joy and make you feel alive. Because life is too short to be settled. We go through our days with expectation of continuation tomorrow, the day after tomorrow – but it is only at seeing through that illusion do we truly realize the precariousness gift that is life.