Lessons in life

By Amanda Trei
It's been proven time and again, on back roads and superhighways: A seat belt can save a life in a car accident.
Back on October 13, 1992, I was fighting for my life after becoming paralyzed from a car accident and not wearing a seatbelt. I never would have thought that this many years later I would be a successful teacher and run my own photography business, who believes in herself and makes a difference in the lives that she meets every day!
My situation has led me to discover things about myself that I would not have before. I am proud not only of what my disability has taught me, but also of where it has taken me and whom I have met along the way. People have stayed and people have went about their way and left my journey.
If you want to know why you should wear a seat belt, it's for your protection. This could save your life even in a small minor traffic accident.
So much in my life is because of this injury. No, life isn't perfect, but it wasn't perfect before I used a wheelchair either! Over time I have come to realize... It wasn't me who changed... It was my perspective! Being a gal that uses a wheelchair has reminded me to appreciate the little things in life such as being able to get out of bed each morning and enjoy the fresh air. I have begun to realize, it is not what I do in life that matters. It is who I am inside that truly defines the real me. I have met people in my life who are blatantly uncomfortable around me. So be it I say. Deal with your own feelings, in your own time.
Having said all of this, I didn't get here overnight. It took me a bunch of years to come to grips with the gravity of it all. It took a great support system of family and friends, a belief in myself, an ungodly number of margaritas and a deeply engrained sense of humor. All that I have going for me defuses the all-consuming desire to lash out, to find and affix blame.
You don't need to walk to fall in love, to get married, have kids, get a degree, go to work or be a successful leader. Whatever you want to do, you don't need to walk to write, paint, take in a ballgame, go hunting, scuba diving, whatever.
Napoleon said, "Struggle is a decided advantage, for it awakens within you attributes which would otherwise forever lie dormant."

Amanda Trei is an advocate for seat belts

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