Everyone takes things for granted.
There, I’ve said it.
No matter how thankful you are for some things, there are others that we inevitably take for granted until something happens to make up realise how truly fortunate we are.
For example, I’m thankful and grateful for my family, and have been for years, but I always took for granted the fact mum did the washing every week until I moved out of home two years ago and suddenly had to do it myself.
I distinctly remember the moment I no longer took ‘fresh’ air for granted. I was 13, overseas for the first time in my life, in China, with my school. We were at Tienanmen Square (a landmark completely lost on me at the time), and our guide told us that Tienanmen Square is the only square in the world that doesn’t have pigeons because of the amount of pollution in the air. Later that day (or perhaps the next day, it’s been almost 8 years) I made the mistake of running up the Great Wall of China after my friends and had the first, and only, asthma attack I’ve ever had. Having pollution so bad that I literally was struggling to breath and had to be helped down (side note, that’s how A and I met. Trust me, it was not romantic in the slightest) made me acutely aware of both how lucky I am to live in a country with relatively low levels of pollution and how much humans are damaging the planet.
(There is a point to this blog, stay with me).
I’ve been asked my fair share of ‘Would you rather’ questions over the years. You know, the usual. ‘Would you rather lose your sight or your hearing”, “Would you rather lose your legs or your arms”, “Would you rather have fingers for toes or toes for fingers.” And I never really had any answers (aside from fingers for toes coz then I could be a monkey). In fact, I never really sat down and thought about it. I met people who are blind, or deaf, or in a wheelchair, and I always thought how awful it would be, but I never stopped to think how fortunate I was that my eyesight is fantastic (not even boasting – I have very good vision), I can hear, and all my body parts work.
Until about two months ago.
Isn’t it horrible how it always takes something happening to either ourselves or someone we know and love before we stop and realise just how fucking lucky we are. Yet that seems to be how it is. At least that’s how it was for me.
Jason and I met in 2011, and it was one of those strange moments where you just ‘click’ with someone. I barely see him (we’ve lived in different cities, states, and now countries), and yet I know that I can message him and he’ll be there. He’s hilarious, bright, and just a generally good person.
In November, after going out with friends, Jason fell three storeys down an apartment building stairwell.
He snapped his back.
At not even 20 years old, Jason became a paraplegic. Thankfully, he still has full upper body movement, but he’ll never walk again.
Despite this, he’s remaining positive, in classic Jason style. He’s going to keep studying, keep going after his dreams, and keep being awesome.
Jason’s always been an inspiration to me, but now even more so.
His family and friends have set up a page for donations to help funding the cost of transforming his home and life now that he’s in a wheelchair, running fundraisers, events, and spreading the word of how amazing he is called Jason’s Road To Independence.
There’s also a section on the website where you can donate, which I know he would greatly appreciate.
Jason’s accident has put things into perspective for me. Every time my legs hurt at the gym, I remember how lucky I am to be able to run at all. When there’s no lift and I have to take the stairs, instead of complaining I now think about how many people simply wouldn’t be able to go inside. Most importantly, I’ve realised that in a single moment in a single evening, something I’ve taken for granted since before I can remember could simply be taken away from me, so I better bloody well make the most of it.