Journal

Embracing the New Me

September 13, 2015

If there’s one thing I can’t live without, it’s my love for adventure. I crave the adrenaline rush, the diverse sceneries, and the shared experiences. Since the night I celebrated New Year’s Eve with my best friend, I had a good feeling that 2015 was going to be close to perfect—and that’s exactly how it played out until one accident changed everything.

In the past year, I experienced ‘Wanderlust’ to its fullest. As a native Washingtonian, I went hiking every weekend where I discovered hidden ice caves, abandoned bridges, and frozen lakes.

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In the springtime I solo travelled to London, studied abroad in Italy for three months, and explored a total of 10 European countries.

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As soon as I came back to the States, I went on a family road trip from Seattle, Washington to the Bay Area, California where I resided for my summer internship. My Wanderlust didn’t stop there as I continued to explore San Francisco, Yosemite National Park, Lake Tahoe, Santa Cruz, Mt. Tamalpais, Alamere Falls—you name it.

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Having consumed a lot of carbs during my time in Italy, my goal this summer was to get back in shape and hike Half Dome, an ambitious hike to the top of a granite dome in Yosemite Valley. Exactly two weeks before I was set out to hike Half Dome, I spent the day exploring Pinnacles National Park. My friend and I hiked to the highest elevation in the park in striking 106 degrees Fahrenheit. The formation of the pinnacles and the talus caves were so grandiose and fascinating that I probably exclaimed “whoa!” a hundred times that day (sorry Jim, heh). But really, it was such a fabulous day topped with one rewarding hike. Nothing could ruin my day from there.

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I spoke too soon. That evening, on my drive back home, I experienced the most tragic day of my life. I got hit directly on my driver’s side by a pickup truck with a horse trailer (later on, the police told me that it was the equivalent of a school bus). My car was flung across the road and fell into a ditch. There was glass everywhere and my car was completely totaled. I was scared shitless. As I was screaming for help, my friend suggested that we get out of the car in case the engine exploded. I could barely squeeze my legs out, but I managed to crawl through the passenger side door and collapse onto the ground. My eyes kept seeing swirly stars against the night sky and then they saw nothing. I thought I was going blind. I felt my arm aching in pain and I was too afraid to stand up because my right leg couldn’t support my weight anymore. All I could do was sit and wait for help. After what seemed like hours, the first ambulance arrived and I was eventually airlifted to a trauma hospital. It turns out I broke bones in my wrist and index finger and dislocated my kneecap.

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As I am writing this, I am now recovering from two surgeries. It’s unbelievable that I went from relentlessly climbing mountains to training my right leg how to bend again. It has been difficult adjusting to this new lifestyle where I spend more time indoors than outdoors. The hardest part about overcoming a tragedy has been embracing the new me. Once I accepted that I won’t be able to go on any adventures for a while, I started finding new things to get excited about. In just three weeks alone, I spent more time with my extended family than I have all year, saw my best friends who I otherwise would’ve missed, and developed a relationship with someone special. During this time I’ve also been able to focus on aspects of my life that matter a lot to me, such as working closer with my favorite student organization and honing my design skills. I’ve learned that even during the most traumatic times, there are still ways to stay positive and find happiness. I can barely walk and my left hand is basically useless, but I find myself looking forward to something every day. Although I dream about adventuring again, I am happy and blessed with the feeling of warmth and love that currently surrounds me.

I have to say though—when all this healing is finally over, I’m making my way to Half Dome.

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Amy is always on the hunt for the next adventure. When she’s not outdoors, Amy spends most of her time pursuing a degree in Human Centered Design & Engineering and leading a women in engineering organization on campus. Amy loves anything art-related and is currently fascinated with photography. You can see some of her photos on her Instagram.

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2 Comments

  • Reply Bailey September 17, 2015 at 4:23 pm

    Amy, this is one hell of a story! I’m so glad to hear that your recovery is going well and that you’ll be back at it in no time!

    • Reply Amy September 23, 2015 at 3:17 am

      Aww thank you so much 🙂

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