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Car Accidents Save Lives This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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   I thought I had a long time before I would die, a long time to accomplish all Iwanted. I thought I had all the time in the world, but I found, as I often do,that I was wrong.

A while ago, I felt like I was stuck in a rut. I woke upevery morning to go to school, and then to work. Sure, I had my friends. Theywere great. I had my family whom I got along with. I made decent grades. But Ifelt I wasn't getting what I wanted out of life. I felt boring, and it put me inan awful mood. I wanted to be interesting. I wanted to be vivacious, but Iwasn't. I didn't know what to do to get myself out of my mundanelifestyle.

It was a Friday, and the weather was awesome. I was finallyable to drive with the windows down. My sullen mood of the last two weeks wasbeginning to lift. After a month of fickle weather it was one of those nice tepiddays. I love to feel the sun on my skin, to be able to walk outside and notfreeze, to drive with the wind blowing my hair. It was a beautiful day.

Iwas on a journalism assignment, and journalism usually makes me happy. I lovewriting what I know, what I see and what I think. I don't have to worry aboutsimiles and metaphors or plot lines. I report the facts. I keep it short andsweet, and I write about something different every time.

Today I wassupposed to observe people on a blind date but didn't like the idea of being thethird wheel, so I asked my friend Christi to come with me. I picked up her up at4:30. We neared the ramp onto Highway 74, which I absolutely hate driving onbecause it is so busy. In most cases I take the long way around to avoid it. Thatday there were too many cars going too fast and I had no business being there,but I realized that too late.

All I remember is pulling onto the highway.As I did, I was hit on the driver's side by a truck going 60 miles an hour. Theimpact of the crash made me black out. There were no visions of white lights andmy life didn't flash before my eyes. Everything just went blank.

Thenext thing I knew I was in a ditch with people asking questions: What is yourname? How old are you? Are you okay? What happened?

I didn't know what hadhappened, and I didn't care about my pounding head, or my throbbing arm. The onlyimportant thing was getting my parents there. Nobody seemed able to find them. Ididn't know what had happened. I think that was when I began to cry.

Crying is not my style, but there are some things in life, no matter howold you are, that your mom and dad can still fix, and I thought this was one ofthem. But they weren't there. They couldn't fix my head, my arm, and definitelynot my car, but I knew I would feel safe if they were there. Some-how, I feltthey would make this chaotic situation calm.

The paramedics arrived andneeded to get me to a hospital. I didn't want to go without my parents. I didn'tknow what had happened, what was happening, or what was going to happen. Thisterrified me. I'm always in complete control of myself, but this time I wasn't.Everyone kept telling me to stay calm.

My dad arrived just as theparamedics were putting me into the ambulance. I have never been more relieved tosee my daddy's face. Somehow, seeing him standing over me made me feel so muchbetter. From that moment on, I knew that no matter what was wrong, everythingwould be okay.

While I'm still not able to remember the wreck, Iremember the ride to the hospital perfectly. It was full of bumps and turns thatmade me feel like I was spinning. I remember the IV, to which I had an allergicreaction (I still have the marks on my skin to prove it). I remember theparamedic asking me questions when I really just wanted to be left alone. Butmost of all, I remember thinking, Please, God, don't let me die. I'm only 16. Iwant to be a famous writer, I want to travel the world. I want to tell the peopleI like one last nice thing and I want to give the people I don't like one lastsarcastic remark. I haven't begun to make my dreams come true.

I alsoremember thinking that I had not lived. I didn't have interesting stories totell. I hadn't pushed myself, and I hadn't done things just for my enjoyment. Iwas always too worried about the future, about what college would accept me, thatmy grades weren't good enough. Sure, I worried about important things, but wheredid it get me? It was like rocking in a rocking chair: worrying gave me somethingto do, but it really didn't get me anywhere. I made myself a promise right thereon that stretcher, in the back of what I now call the "Hell Wagon:" Iwas going to start living life.

My visit to the hospital was uneventfulin a sense. Nothing much happened except that they cut off my clothes, which Iwasn't very pleased about. I was glad I listened to my mother and always woreclean underwear. They ran me through the usual routine and told my parents Iwould be all right because I was making my usual smart remarks. After tests,x-rays and a CAT scan, I was told I had a concussion and had messed up my arm.Besides the bumps, bruises and scratches, I was lucky. I was able to go home thatnight.

As for my car, its fate was not as positive as mine. I really haddone a number on it. The police and witnesses told me that as I pulled onto 74,another car tried to change lanes and ended up side-swiping me. My car wentspinning into a ditch, which my grandmother always says is the worst place to endup. That ditch, however, saved our lives. Had I spun in the other direction, wemost likely would have been hit many more times.

Luckily, our windows wereopen. If they had been up, the glass would have shattered, cutting our faces andbodies. Ultimately though, the one thing that saved us was our seatbelts. Thosecommercials that warn "Buckle up, it saves lives" aren't justpropaganda. They kept us from flying around the car, out the window, and hittingour heads harder than we did.

I am lucky to be alive today. The accidentchanged my outlook on life. I discovered I was in a rut because I put myselfthere. This experience taught me that I can control my life. Whether I viewthings positively or negatively affects the way I live, the way I act, and theway things happen to me. Destiny is not a chance, it is a choice. If I'm nothappy with the way my life is, I can't wait around and expect change to come. Ihave to make things change. I have to make things happen.

People get incar accidents every day, and many die in them every day. I'm not writing this topersuade you to be safe, although that's not a bad idea. People tell you to besafe your whole life, so you don't need a lecture from me. I'm writing this totell you what I have learned. Forever does not exist. You have to live your life,not just go through it. When I die, I want to know I lived my life to thefullest. If you were to stare death in the face tomorrow, would you feelsatisfied with your life, or would you want something more?

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.




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GleekGamerThis teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Jul. 5, 2013 at 8:36 am:
Amazing, inspirational article. But why did you leave out some spaces?
 
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happyboat said...
Jun. 13, 2011 at 12:20 am:
I feel like im in a rut right now. This was inspirational, thank you. 
 
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NeicyAmor said...
Apr. 30, 2011 at 11:31 pm:
wow...this was amazing . i love how you ended with that question because it really has me thinking & you are so blessed to still be alive and im glad you are because i would have never got to read this if you never got to write it .
 
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