How one event changed my life!
Two powerful lessons learned from life’s BIG Stuff moments
Well, it has been many years since this happened to me. Yet almost every day I approach almost every situation from the lessons learned from that life-altering event. So many lessons compressed in a few days.
It seems like only yesterday it happened yet it was a few decades since that life-changing day. As the pain washed over me, my emotions flowed with it. First I was confused, annoyed and eventually, with the passing of time, some clarity came to me.
“What is he yammering on about?” you ask.
Lesson Learned on a Second Hand Two-Wheeler
Let us rewind. I had graduated from a magnificent three-wheeler and was mastering a bight red and white two-wheeler. I was about six and my parents had bought it off my Dad’s sister, Hilda. She is my cousin Jim’s Mom.
It was a sweet ride and my vehicle to a little more freedom. Now, I could go around the whole block up and down the hill around the (cue joy and awe voice) whole block!
Little did I know that after a few weeks that bike would “assist” me in having a life altering experience. I am the first to admit that athletic kid I was not. As I was learning to ride that bike, the gravel road we lived was my highway. Up and down I went dozens and dozens of times.
My father, the poor man, ended up with the legs of a marathoner by the time I finally got the hang of riding these wheels. Up and down, up and down that street we went. Yet I eventually got the hang of it. Mastery of the bike came slow to me. Learning to balance, peddle, steer, long look and short look, brake and signal direction and stop. Did I miss anything?
As I am writing it now, I can still hear my Father’s voice. He had the patience of a saint.
Now, to cut to the chase. Out for a ride one sunny spring day, a little girl about three decided to suddenly turn and run in front of me. I managed to avoid hitting her, however, in that moment my life long lesson began. Seems I can avoid people but not so good at avoiding
My biking skills were not yet at the point that I could avoid people and objects or ditches. Steering away from the little girl, I went into a shallow ditch and over the handle bars. Helmets were not made or mandatory for kids then so, as I went over the handle-bars, I made head contact with the only rock in the ditch. Out cold for two to three hours with a concussion and a headache like I have not had since.
Fading in and out for a couple days. I was x-rayed, inspected, weighed, poked and prodded. Once I was diagnosed and placed in my room, I was supposed to rest. Sounds like a great idea. Except, I had a concussion. Protocols of the day were that a Nurse or Doctor would hourly examine me for swelling at the point of impact. and check whether my any of my pupils was dilating more than the other. That made it extremely tough to get quality sleep with being woken up every 55 minutes.
“No,” was the quick response.
Without a pill to ease the pain, its location and intensity were front and centre of my focus. What I learned there and then was that knowing the type of pain one is feeling, without masking it, you become clear about its location and you begin to understand what happened and what is happening. Not nice for you but helps you recognise if it is easing, whether you are healing or whether your suffering is deeper.
Wow, what a lesson. Stay with the pain, learn something from it. Don’t mask it over. Learn from your pain.
The next lesson happened within a few of hours. As I floated in and out of consciousness, I noticed that I got a roommate. He too had a head injury. The room suddenly got very VERY loud and bright. My injury had me wanting complete darkness, no sound, and no movement. I was suddenly hyper-sensitive to everything around me.
My new roomy was the opposite. He demanded, who was about my age, that the lights be on, the blinds open so that he could see outside. Like me, he was instructed to stay in his bed and rest but he did not and instead he proceeded to do whatever he wanted. Things got louder and his behaviour escalated. Suddenly a larger bed arrived with stainless steel bars like an oversized crib and he was placed in it. He protested very loudly and angrily.
I asked to be moved when, after hours of his crying, screaming and wailing.
Looking back, with my adult understanding, it is clear to me that he was afraid, just as I was but was expressing it in the only way he knew how.
Two people, in pain, afraid, with similar or the same issue can have two very different reactions. That was lesson number two from falling head first from my two-wheeler. They would stay with me as my journey continues.
Michael Ballard specialises in helping people, schools, organizations and communities learn how to become more resilient. To book Michael for your next event or to consult contact him at: