For my high school graduation, I gave a speech about how a single minute -- one of the several million we experience over our lifetime -- can change the course of our existence. I explained that this aggregate of important, life-altering minutes would ultimately impact the rest of our lives.
While this speech was full of enthusiasm and 'wisdom' (read: naiveté) meant to pump up 250 bored graduates for their future, I think my 18 year old self was on to something...
9:46AM - November 30, 2015
This was the approximate minute that I felt the searing pain up my right leg as I lay on the damp asphalt in front of the car that hit me.
In this seemingly long minute, I was surrounded by caring bystanders who comforted me and called for help. Someone took off my helmet and placed a pillow beneath my head. Someone found my cell phone and called my friends, informing them of the accident. Someone cut open my (brand new) rain pants to expose my fiery, burning leg, even though I tried to explain that I'd only worn them twice and they were 'super cute'.
Soon I was hoisted into an ambulance by a dreamy paramedic named Troy (I promise this wasn't just the pain killers) and driven to the local hospital.
The minutes that followed were a flurry of doctors and nurses and IVs and phone calls. These minutes turned into hours and the hours turned into days.
It wasn't until I came home, sitting alone in my house, that the weight of this one minute began to sink in.
My life - the life I knew before this accident - has been forever altered by a single minute.
In the nearly twelve thousand minutes that have passed since November 30, 2015 at 9:46AM, I have been showered with more love and kindness and support than I have ever experienced in my life.
Within hours of my accident friends were crowded around my hospital bed with a bag full of coloring books, Hot Wheels, flowers, and single socks (for my left foot). My dearest friend put her life on hold and booked a flight to be by my side during my long recovery. My roommates brought me a giant burrito to save me from the hospital food (and then got a firm scolding from the nurse).
Days later, phone calls and flowers and more burritos poured in. On Friday I was surrounded by dozens of beautiful people who all came to my home to celebrate my birthday, helping me to create new memories filled with joyful, happy minutes.
In the days since, people have cooked for me, cleaned for me, picked up my prescriptions, and even washed my hair. The amount of love and support I've received in the past week makes my heart burst with gratitude.
That one minute has changed things for me, and will surely bring on new challenges in the coming days. What I didn't know when I gave that speech in high school is that it isn't just a single minute that can change your life.
All of the minutes in my life that led up to and followed 9:46AM on that grey November day also matter. These are the minutes where I grew the friendships that are now vital to keeping me physically and emotionally afloat in a city where I have no family.
Perhaps I got it wrong when I gave my graduation speech on that drizzly day in May several years ago. The seemingly trivial minutes spent with others -- those before and after the life-altering one -- are the ones that truly matter.