I Believe in Life Changing Moments

Alex - Huntington Beach, California
Entered on March 3, 2009

I believe it is experiences that last only a few seconds that make the largest impact on somebody’s views, ambitions and future. I view my experience as a second chance at life.

I was driving home to Huntington Beach from USC with two of my friends June 9th, 2008 after attending my friends swim meet. School was out and we were just a few days away from graduating high school. Exiting the freeway I failed to see the raised area that separated me from the off-ramp and lost control of the vehicle. We flew into the blockade opposite us, ricocheted off of it on to two wheels, slid opposite of the exit and rolled into the plants below. I looked behind me as we were rolling and watched one of my friends break the sunroof with his head and the other flying in the backseat All three of us walked out of the car without any serious injuries. When the police arrived they informed me that they had seen this happen more than once, “if you hadn’t been wearing seatbelts you would not be alive right now. Consider yourselves lucky”. I was the only person in the car wearing a seatbelt.

To me, this was the absolute definition of a miracle. Our friend that was swimming took us home that night, and on the way back we stopped at Harbor House Café for a “survivor dinner”. It was then that I knew my life would always be different. I had almost killed myself and two of my closest friends.

Before the accident I had always been a happy person, valued my life and been excited to see where it would take me. I was also never extremely internally motivated. Sure, I went to class and always did my work. I got the grades that would make my parents happy and get me into a good college, which would in turn prepare me for a successful job in the future. I never really took advantage of the gift I was given- my brain. I didn’t put in that extra effort to show myself and everyone else what I was capable of. I would make lists of things I always wanted to get around to doing, but procrastinate. Within just two seconds, this outlook on life that I had, and way that I carried myself changed drastically.

I didn’t realize until recently just how much this accident changed my life, but reflecting on it now I am shocked. I have subconsciously become motivated to learn and take advantage of opportunities offered to me. Because of this new dedication, my GPA in college is higher than my un-weighted GPA in high school, regardless of the fact that classes are now much more difficult. I have also become proactive as opposed to putting things off to the future. This year I began to receive my skydiving certification, something I have always wanted. I am only a few levels from receiving it! (Even though my first solo attempt ended in the trees). I have learned to no longer settle with the expectations set by others, but create my own standards and goals. I create my own path through life, not follow the one demonstrated by people before me. I know that this outlook is the way I will find my true passions, and allow me to become the person I want to be. I am so grateful for my second chance in life, and am now a firm believer that some of the most life-altering events happen within the shortest amounts of time.