This I Believe

Carrie - Mitchellville, Iowa
Entered on February 1, 2008
Age Group: Under 18
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One Life, One Chance

Have you ever thought about how quick your life can change? In one second your life could be totally turned upside down and you could be sitting in a wheel chair, or be a vegetable for the rest of your days. I believe that your life can change in a single moment. People take their lives for granted everyday and once people have experienced hardship, they realize how much they could risk for something that is not worth it.

When I was younger I would always go to my friend Jessica’s house and we would always do stupid things that we didn’t realize could possibly kill us. We would play in her dad’s auger wagon that was filled with either soy beans or corn. We never understood why her mom would get so mad about it because we didn’t know it was so dangerous. Our favorite thing to do was ride our four wheelers behind her house and jump terraces in the fields. Again, we never knew how dangerous it was, that is, until one day.

My fifth grade first semester was done and my mom was out of town on a vacation with her friends from high school staying in Minnesota for the weekend. School was out for the semester and my break had just begun. It was colder than usual that day and both Jessica and I were at her house. Her brother Eddie was the only one home besides us because her dad was working in the field and her mom was at work. By the middle of the day we had gotten restless. We had watched TV, annoyed her older brother, played with her newborn kittens, ate everything in the kitchen, and figured it was time to have some fun.

We decided to go out to the barn and warm up the four wheeler for a day of riding gravel roads, clearing rivers, and jumping terraces. I didn’t have my four wheeler over there that day so Jessica and I had to ride together. Jessica got on first and I followed, sitting on the back of the seat. Not only are you not supposed to drive four wheelers under the age of 16, you are also not supposed to carry passengers. Now I know why.

We had been on the ATV for about an hour when we were riding around the field behind her house. It was a soy bean field that had just been harvested so we had to be careful where we drove to make sure we didn’t pop a tire on the bean stalks. As Jessica was driving we saw terraces across the creek. Eager to try them out, we gradually crossed the slow moving creek, up the bank, and sped off near the hills. We spent what seems like the rest of the day on those terraces. We would jump them and sometimes it was a success, other times it was a disappointment because we couldn’t get as high as the time before. Each time was a challenge to get higher and the last time across was the worst.

As we jumped the hills we seemed to increase our speed. “Go again!” I screamed to Jessica over the four wheeler. I think she was more excited to go than I was that day because as we turned around, Jessica turned too sharp. The four wheeler rolled three times before it settled on top of my leg. I saw that Jessica had been thrown far from the accident and was lying on the ground. I couldn’t believe it when I looked down and saw that the four wheeler had landed in a spot where my leg was in a space between the machine and the ground. Not believing how lucky I was, I wiggled my leg out from the ground and stood up, dizzy, but still awake. As Jessica stood up we looked at each other with wide eyes, not believing that it had actually happened, how we were going to explain this to our parents and how we were going to magically twist the handle bars back to normal again. The only thing we could do was walk to the house and ask Eddie to help us flip it back over. On our walk back, I was replaying the images in my head that had happened before the accident. How much fun we were having and the joy of being able to do what we wanted. In the middle of my thoughts I heard a loud, drawn out scream. I looked at Jess as her eyes were filled with tears and her hands covering her mouth. “Carrie, your ear! Look! Your ear!” she screamed. I felt my ear with my cold hands and pulled them away to only see my hand covered in blood. Not thinking twice, we decided to run instead of walk. The whole thing after that seems like a blur because I was so upset. It turns out that when I landed from the accident, a beanstalk cut my ear and tore it. Later that day my mom came home from her trip to Minnesota only to see her daughters head wrapped in bandages. That next month of school I had to wear numerous band-aids on my ear everyday.

I have learned some things from that accident. First, wear your helmet when you ride, and don’t take your life for granted. Nothing life changing happened from that accident, but I realized that it could have turned out very bad. Your life can change so quick its not even funny. People give advice all the time and the most valid information that I have ever gotten was this; Be who you want to be, go where you want to go, and do what you want to do because you only have one life and one chance to live it.