Lucky to be Alive

Di Westaway | CEO Wild Women On Top | Blackmores Healthy Ambassador

My kids have told me I’m not allowed to climb Mt Everest in case I die. So, I found another goal to keep me motivated for healthy ageing: going upside down on top of stunning high mountains.

But little did I know that the most dangerous activity was awaiting me just near my home. Yesterday morning, as I rode my bike to the beach for a soft sand jog, a car ran a red light and hit me.  

My first thought … “Owwwwww … my knee …” Second thought …. “Damn, I’ll miss my jog …”, third thought, “OMG – I could have been killed!”

Four hours later I went into shock and my knee blew up. I kept replaying to accident over and over in my mind. Slow and fast motion at the same time … the car hitting the outside of my right knee and smashing me to the concrete. Then gratefulness that I wasn’t in intensive care with head injuries, and super gratefulness that it wasn’t one of my kids. The images don’t stop.

But now I’ve realised that all my walking, trekking, interval training, soft sand jogging, bike riding, yoga, swimming, and rock climbing, have been preparing me to fall safely without injuring myself. And that all the hours, days, weeks, months invested in my health and fitness for the past 54 years, will assist me in a speedy recovery.

I’ve learned that you can prepare for life’s unfortunate surprises and accidents, whether they are physical, mental or emotional. And as a woman, you must. Without your health and fitness, you can’t continue to nurture others while following your own purpose.

Now, as my mind is consumed by the day to day activities of managing a fractured tibia and the possibility that my World’s Highest Walking Handstand has been snatched away from me by another person’s careless mistake, I am forced to really dig deep and practice what I preach: turning obstacles into opportunities.

Family, friends and work mates have jumped in to assist with all the basics and wonderful doctors have shared their expertise on healing and options for mountaineering on a newly healed bone.

Best of all, my kids, two of whom are young adults, and one almost a teenager, have been forced to help out more. Not that I plan to milk this … much … but it’s awesome to see how much your kids grow as a result of adversity.  Even my 12 year old is cooking dinner and cleaning up cat poo! How lucky am I!

Here are my top five tips for turning obstacles into opportunities and preparing your body and mind for life’s unexpected challenges:

  1. Stay positive: Attitude is everything. I’ve gone over the options in my mind, and become so focused on all the good things I can do in my recovery period, that I’ve not only forgiven the goose who hit me with his ute, but I’m getting excited about getting my life organised, learning about bone healing and watching my kids sweep the floor 
  2. Be solution oriented: Focus on the answers, do your homework, and be open to new solutions. Life has taught me time and time again, that when shit happens, I need to get over the hurt and emotional trauma as fast as possible so I can get on with solutions, which help me feel in control again, and always bring wonderful outcomes – most often better than the original path I was on.
  3. Be grateful: Imake a point of being grateful every day, actually consciously thinking about how awesome my life is. Even though I’m a very emotional person, and things often go wrong, I try to focus on the good stuff. Since my accident, I’ve really focused on how lucky I am to be alive, how much I’ve learned from the experience, and how glad I am that it didn’t happen to my kids. Studies show that being consciously grateful give you a full heart and improves emotional health.
  4. Stay fit and healthy; move daily, train hard, rest hard, eat nutritious: My training for the last 6 months has been as much about injury prevention (how funny that somebody else injured me!) as about strength, flexibility, technical climbing, and mental tuffness.
  5. Accept help: Like most women, I’m reluctant to ask for help. But this time around, I’ve needed it and I’ve asked. I’ve learned that people actually want to help, so let them and you’ll build stronger bonds and everybody wins; especially your kids who will be greatly empowered by seeing your need and helping out.

So, get with the program, and practice the art of turning obstacles into opportunities by getting yourself a challenging adventure goal to ensure you’re ALWAYS prepared for life’s unexpected challenges.


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