When I was 16 years old I lived in Botswana and I had a car accident. I was pulling into my friend’s house, possibly a little too quickly, I hit some sand and skidded into his wall. (I got my license in Zimbabwe at 16 so I was driving legally.)
It was quite a shock because everything went in slow motion from the moment I tapped on the breaks until I got out the car and screamed, “F#*K!” At the top of my lungs. The car wasn’t a write off, but the front left headlight was smashed and the bumper and bonnet needed replacing for sure. For a few moments after the accident, what seemed like eternity to me, I was absolutely crapping my panties trying to figure out the best way to explain to my parents what I had done. My friend and his sister were in just about the same amount of shock that I was in, although I’m sure they probably found it slightly more amusing. It’s not every day that your friend comes round and crashes into your house.
I managed to traverse the scolding from both my parents and drove the car home in convoy with my mum; much to my embarrassment a friend flagged us down on the way home to find out what had happened. I got through the next few weeks without being locked in a prison but the immediate accountability of the situation was a hard one to admit to. A few weeks down the line, I was still grounded and I knew that any stepping out of line would mean more punishment and probably even more disappointment on my parents part. In my weeks of being grounded I was still allowed to drive to school and to play some golf, but any other activities were strictly prohibited. It is funny that the anger parents exude from seeing you mess something up like crashing a car is far surpassed by the disappointment that they feel… The, “where did we go wrong” vibes were very strong.
During my grounded phase a family friend had gone out of town and an agreement was struck up that I would house sit for them, a fail safe to ensure that I behaved…
Once I was settled in the house for the first night and I had eaten some dinner I decided to call my friends and find out what time they were all meeting up at the Bull and Bush, our favourite bar. (Just ignore the fact that I was 16…)
I decided to seize the moment and stock up on some beer, load my family friend’s cooler box into my car and zip off into town to meet my friends. We’d often have drinks outside the Bull and Bush to save money the cooler full of booze would come in handy, along with the epic sound system in my car to provide an hour of entertainment before heading inside and meeting up with everyone else.
Later on in the evening I went back out to the car to get some more to drink, only to find glass all over the floor and in the car and the cooler box gone. The thieves had ignored the sound system and decided to steal the booze. I cleaned up the glass and then headed back to the house I was looking after, drank a little more then passed out. I woke up a few hours later with a stinking hangover and the anxiety of having to explain the broken window, and the missing cooler box.
I wished and wished the situation to go away, along with the hangover and I was really nervous and scared about the truth coming out. My parents were not happy, they extended the feelings of disappointment and frustration with my poor choices.
In the end, despite my antics and several hours left in paralysing torment about the consequences of my actions it was all done. I was just being a scaredy cat, sure I knew I would need to make amends for the wrong I had done, but it wasn’t going to kill me to own up for my mistakes.
So how does this relate to you and your move to being the better you? Well, you can live your whole life worried about the chocolate you just ate or the bad weekend of boozing and never get anywhere wracked with guilt. (Me crashing the car and getting the window smashed in,) You can also spend your whole life worrying about the impending increase in waist size from said chocolate and alcohol. (Also me wondering what punishment I would endure.) When, actually then best thing is to get rid of the worry, accept the fact that it wasn’t a good choice and move on in the present to make better choices.
“If you are depressed you are living in the past. If you are anxious, you are living in the future. If you are at peace, you are living in the present.” Lao Tzu
Go out there today and get stuck in, make good choices for your health and your mindset and revel in the moment as much as you can!
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Have a great week ahead 🙂
Stay Strong and Keep Moving