Things that can happen to anyone will happen to you.

It won’t happen to me. I won’t ever be in that situation. I’m in control. 

All lies. Things that can happen to anyone will happen to you. They did to me today.

This week was one I prepared to be a full schedule, a lot of travel and a lot to accomplish. I planned accordingly. I would go the gym earlier than normal, complete a tough workout routine, this morning just happened to be a rigorous leg day, head home, eat, pack up remaining meals for the day and leave to meet customers, my line manager and a mentee.

It went as planned. My boyfriend sent me an inspirational, motivating YouTube video on waking up in the morning and embracing it. So I did. Protein coffee and cream of rice digested and I was out the door. For 5:45 am, it was a little foggy. I didn’t think much of it. I worked out hard. As you can tell in this image, I was exhausted.

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When I carefully climbed into my truck again at 7:15 am, the fog had not lifted. It was probably more dense than before. However, I turned on my Symphonic radio station on Pandora and basically zoned out. Going down the road felt like a dream. I go this way every day and know the path like clockwork. But, for some reason, I forgot about that stop sign.

I slammed on the breaks with my achy leg but to no avail. I can’t recall much else but know my truck drove through the ditch and into a woods where it finally came to a halt after beating against small brush and tree limbs.

Shaken up, I looked around. No air bag had gone off, but my driver’s side window was a sheet of broken glass and my dash board was smoking. Time to get out, I told myself. My personal phone was lying on my bag and my work phone was no where in sight. The door would not open so I knocked over the window and climbed out. Thankfully, I was safe.

I called 9-1-1, my mom, boyfriend and boss. I felt helpless but alert. I felt cold and numb to anything. A young lady named Teneil pulled up and asked if I was OK. She said she would gladly wait with me and let me sit in her car until the police arrived. Little did I know, she was a blessing who helped me remain calm, talk about life, how I’m not alone because she recently experienced a similar automobile accident and how there are reasons behind all accidents. After today, I am a firm believer in that.

The situation was getting under wraps when a state highway patrol officer arrived to complete a case and help me get on my way. While she was processing my information, a movie-like scene appeared in front of us. A dump truck came blowing towards the stop sign I missed, hit his breaks, knocked the stop sign and skidded into the ditch. It was surreal. He then proceeded to leave and go on his merry way. The officer gave a “I’ll be right back” and turned her sirens and bolted after him. She returned a short while later, explaining he said he didn’t see the sign at all, only her parked flashing lights made him yield. What could have happened if he didn’t see that warning at all? He and his truck may have been in a similar or worse predicament than I.

After an eventful day, filled with many phone calls, a visit to the ER and some time on the couch, I am grateful. I prayed to God to thank Him for protecting me and for revealing to me to not be in a daze, to not take things for grated and to change bad tendencies. You won’t ever hear me say “it won’t happen to me”. I know it can. Therefore, it’s time to take control of what I can.

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I am going to become more self aware, more appreciative of people in my life and more realistic about my daily activities, priorities, values and goals. How might you learn from my mistakes to do the same? I don’t want you to be in my situation or worse. Instead, how can we improve our discipline and focus to the things we can control?

Don’t forget that things than can happen to anyone will happen to you, especially if little things get past the stop sign.