On a sunny May day at the corner of 5th Avenue and “Hope”, I excitedly awaited meeting a friend. Our excursion started with perfume shopping at Bergdorf’s and ended with lunch at The Plaza. With sparkling water, we toasted one another to “new beginnings” and to finding utter happiness.

Little did I know that that outing with my fabulous friend would be the starting point from which my Universe would slowly change its axis. And little did I anticipate the tremendous self transformation that would ensue.

Now, at the corner of Hope and Anticipation, I look back on that day with the same gleeful excitement I felt when I saw my pretty friend approach me on Fifth Avenue.
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20140811-101425-36865926.jpgFor as long as I can remember, I have always wanted to “help people”.  And for almost that long, I wanted to a pediatrician while adamantly avowing that I would never become a nurse or a lawyer, thank you very much.  So much for plans.  With a Juris Doctor and Registered Nurse behind my name, I became the two things I never declared I would be.

Now, at an introspective crossroad where I am re-purposing my professional and personal experience into something bigger than me, the resounding answer to the question still remains:  “to help people”.

And while the skill that I can use to best help people is my own life’s experience with limb loss, I recognize that that is my greatest attribute, my greatest credential, my greatest achievement.  Finally, I take delight in the challenge of re-inventing myself into the person I always wanted to be: A person who makes a difference.  A person whose contributions matter to others.  A peson I always thought I would be.

Not knowing how that will actually manifest itself, I do know that I will not be one of the many present day reality “stars” who make money from publishing coffee-table books of their own selfies or are simply famous, for being famous. Nor will I be that people take pity upon.

So, when talking to a friend about finding my purpose, he said:

“The objective perspectives of others, I think, is more about illumination vs. inspiration. Everyone is broken, some of us more so than others. We are just so confronted with a lack of enlightenment by so many people our paths cross that we get lost inside ourselves sometimes, worn down by the constant barrage of it all.

Each of us has something to overcome on our path to inner peace and happiness. Perhaps because people can more visibly see one obstacle you have overcome that you illuminate or shed light on folks who find themselves in darkness that they too begin to believe they can achieve and overcome their circumstances.

We can all act as spirit guides of some sort if we choose and we make a choice with every interaction we have with every person we touch every day.”

It’s time to become what I have always thought I’d be.

 

Maya AngelouMy life forever changed on this exact day thirty nine years ago.  Even though it was the day that I could have died, I will forever thank this day for being the day that I survived.

Run over by a gravel truck, my left leg was severely crushed and was amputated just hours later.  That catastrophic loss allowed me the gift of this life that I have been given.  That loss has bestowed me with gifts too great in numerosity to count.  And that loss left me with the perspective to live life fully, to be limitless.

In so honoring this day for what it means, I am grateful to my mom, my dad, my brother, my family, and my friends who helped me survive then; and now, to allow me to thrive and to always be true to myself.  Leslie & Lolly

 

 

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Always trying to fit in by not standing out seems to be my life’s mantra.  Because of what happened to me at a young age, my life has been about accepting what makes me different while appreciating it for being my greatest strength.  But I am not alone.  We all have things that we have overcome and can use those things to make our lives limitless.

It is truly humbling that mine is a story worth featuring in this month’s edition of the O&P Edge.

 

 

 

As a strong believer in optimism and a faithful practitioner thereof, I gobble up every little wisdom nugget that I find. And so, I’m starting my “Friday Fantasticals” which are my words and my perspective. Though not particularly profound, I write them with hopeful optimism that someone will like them too. Without further ado, this is my first installment for you.

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