The list below contains six lessons I have learned throughout my life as a congenital amputee. However, you don’t need to be an amputee to follow these valuable life lessons. There’s a little bit of something here for everyone.
1. Make every day count. For example, this makes me think of so many incidents where you are doing your favorite things like skiing or running and then one day you lose it all. You find out you have cancer or get in a car accident and you end up losing a body part. It is heartbreaking and you have longing memories of those days when you could ski or run, but you didn’t make it count because you planned to do the same thing again tomorrow. We can never go back and you never know what tomorrow will bring. Find a way to cherish every day and the special moments while they are happening.
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2. Never take your health for granted. Do everything you can to stay healthy and injury free. But this is life and we aren’t always in control of disease and injury. So, every morning when you wake up, take a minute to appreciate your good health and then make the most of the day.
3. Attitude can be contagious. If someone is inspired to improve their life because of me and my prosthesis, it only inspires me to live my life even better. Choose to have a positive attitude and let it be contagious.
Arnold Schwarzenegger came to support our team Some Assembly Required.
4. Life is so much easier with a sense of humor. I am thankful that my lack of legs hasn’t robbed me of my sense of humor. One of my favorite jokes is when it’s winter time and I wear sandals, I tease and say that my toes never get cold (cause you know, I don’t have any, LOL!)! It gets people to laugh and encourages them to be comfortable around me. A sense of humor can make a big difference in accepting the punches life throws at you.
5. Take notice of those special people who help you along the way. In my life journey, with my prosthesis, I have happened upon some very special people who make a difference just because that is who they are. These are the people who believed in me, helped me, pushed me, encouraged me and never gave up on me and I always tell them thank you because they have done so much for me. Don’t focus on the negative people. Take notice of those who make a difference and find a way to let them know how special they are. Sending someone a thank you for what they have done just might make their day.
My American families at my wedding!
6. Determination goes long way. We live so much of our lives saying “I can’t.” The simplest daily tasks we do every day, without thought, become challenging when experiencing life missing a leg or two. I was fortunate to have the ability to take on the mindset “if it needs doing, I will adapt a way and get it done.” With each successfully-accomplished task, I soon learned that I could do anything. Never say “I can’t” – say I can and get it done.
The point is, everyone struggles with something. Remembering a few of these lessons I’ve learned along the way, might turn your struggles into accomplishments. Continue being awesome!