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I almost died 24 Hours ago, here's what I learned about Option B

I’m a girl who always chooses the hard path, not for the fruits of what comes from hard work, but because of how rooted I become in the ground. 

I will reframe this, I am grateful the hard path has chosen me this time, not for the problem itself, but for the person it will make me. 

The accident

I was six minutes away from home when out of the corner of my eye I saw a large black SUV swerve into my lane. On instinct, I swerved out of the way but then my tires skidded, my wheels locked and my heart jumped out of my chest. My car swerved and in a blur I hit the breaks and turned the wheel as far as I could to the left. 

I was on I-95 South in Las Vegas.

Photo of I-95 South

And as my car skid across the freeway, I was devoid of thought until I heard the crunch of my car against the concrete in the middle of the freeway.

I blinked and looked down, breathing hard I could feel a dull thud in my leg, but that was it. I was okay by the grace of God. Physically at least. As the adrenaline coursed through my system I opened my car door and searched for my phone, I dialled 911. I consider myself reasonably smart, but at that moment I couldn’t answer any of the questions I was being asked. Simple stuff like “what do you see” had me at a loss for words.

The next hour passed. The tow truck came, the trooper came, and a nice woman named Christina waited with me for a while on the way to pick her son up from school.

I called my mom, but I think she was panicked too and couldn’t manage to find me on the highway, so the cop who was handling my accident drove me to The Sante Fe Casino to meet her.

It was in the back of the cop car where my adrenaline wore off. I called my dad and just cried.

I’ve never been so close to death before.

I’ve also never been more grateful for my life.

The next day

The next 6 hours passed. In a lot of ways, I was numb. I put together a new standing desk but at one point started crying because the pain in my knee was becoming unbearable, so I called my friend Ramon who took me to Walmart to get a knee brace. Well actually, first we tried to go to urgent care, but I called my mom to ask her for my insurance number and she told me I was fine and argued with me until I left. I audibly said the f word in that clinic. I never swear.

Around 2am I woke up from a nightmare, and everytime I close my eyes I keep reliving the accident and I had to tell myself “you’re safe, I’m safe”. I think I called someone, but as I’m writing this I can’t remember who, probably my friend in Italy Miky, yup I just checked, it was Miky.

At 7am the next morning I had to give a speech at Toastmasters, I was told it was good, I think they were just being nice though. I went over time and I wasn’t in person like I wanted to be, I felt guilty and like I let myself down, but the rational part of me realizes I was being a bit hard on myself. 

Early Risers Toastmasters

I powered through work and at lunch went with my mom to get my stuff out of my car. That ride on the highway felt like a drop on the highest roller coaster in the world. I couldn’t breathe the whole time and nearly kissed the ground when we arrived at the tow center.

My car at the tow center

About Option B

But later that day, I went to the library and picked up Option B by Sheryl Sandberg and Wharton Professor Adam Grant who was serendipitously recommended to me by a lovely woman on Linkedin. In the first chapter, Sandberg tells the story about how she found her husband in a pool of blood next to an elliptical. She said in the midst of her grief she reprogrammed her mind to “make the most of Option B” since Option A (her husband being alive) wasn't available anymore, and it made me reframe my situation. Obviously the results of what happened to me were more fortunate than her situation, but I won’t do myself the disservice of pretending I’m not grieving the part of myself that was confident in the security of my life.

On page 16 of Plan B I read “After spending decades studying how people can react to setbacks, psychologist Martin Seligman found that three P’s can stunt recovery. (1) Personalization- the belief that we are at fault; (2) pervasiveness- the belief that an event will affect all areas of our life; and (3) permanence- the belief that the aftershocks of the event will last forever.”

Armed with the knowledge the 3 P’s could hold me back, I’m given the chance to fight them. To reframe. 

Yes I got in an accident, but in spite of that, I’ve still run the three miles I promised myself daily- twice. I kept all my meetings, all my commitments, and even went above and beyond in a few areas. If these past 24 hours have given me anything- it is unwavering proof that I will keep my word unless it is impossible to do so. The confidence this has given me can’t be understated and I feel I’ve gained 24 years of trust in myself in 24 hours.

I still am afraid to get in a car, but I've already done it, I know one day I'll have to drive again and when that day comes I will do it.

I will continue to make the best of my Option B, and I won’t stop until I remember Option B as one of the best things that ever happened to me.

Thank you to my close friends and family for being there for me, thank you to anyone who took the time to read this, and most importantly, thank you to God for protecting me always.


Laura Mai

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Mashud Ali
Mashud Ali
22. Apr.

Ahhhh - that is crazy. Did not know this even happened!

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