The Life You Hadn’t Planned

I am a big reader and pretty much have loved every book I have ever got my hands on. They force me to see things, become aware of aspects in life that don’t really get noticed. A recent book I came across was “Me Before You”, by Jojo Moyes. In a nutshell, the book is about a woman who takes up a job as a caregiver for a quadriplegic man and falls in love with him. I finished the book in two days. TWO DAYS! If you want to read the book first, I am going to warn you spoiler alert ahead.

I really enjoyed reading the perspective of Clark, the caregiver, and how she tried to overcome all sorts of barriers for Will, the man she is caring for. The book talks about the struggles of accessibility in every day places like cafes, events, and even foreign countries. Clark is always doing her research to make sure that there are such things as disabled parking and in the beginning of the book she forgot to take notice for something as simple as grass and uneven pathways. Something many individuals do not even have to think about.

Then I could relate to Will and his hesitation to trying new things, stepping out of his comfort zone, feeling insecure because he was “different”. It feels strange being knocked out of your comfort zone, so I don’t blame him. Will is in a lot of pain and feels trapped. He hates being dependent on anyone, and feels afraid. Everything feels uncertain. Will says, “Every place I go to now people look at me like I don’t belong”. It becomes unbearable for him to watch other people live half the life he had planned for himself.  He misses his old life, the life he had before the accident. He used to feel normal, untroubled. I could relate, I knew what it felt like when everything was being pulled away.

Will lived a big life before the accident. Big deals, fantastic trips, great adventures, and many loves. It’s hard for him to watch others move on with their lives while he is trapped trying to readjust around new things. Knowing everything you tried to be… would never be. We all expect to live the life we choose but sometimes we have no choice but to learn to embrace a new life. Clark complains that Will gives her a hard time for not “seizing the moment”. Creating new memories, reaching new goals, and new experiences. She says, “What if I’m tired when I get home and don’t want to do anything?”. This is something we are all guilty of. Playing it small, burying our real potential and living comfortably. Will tells Clark, “But one day you might wish you had”.

Even though Will is a fictional character, I know there are people out there just like him. Whom have lost all their power, their dependence to live on their own. An individual who wishes they could take the events back, that they could be out of the hospital for even just a month, that they could spend time with their friends without having to worry about accessibility. Someone who wants to take a walk in the park, shake your hand, walk through a crowd unnoticed… the little things we all sometimes forget about.  I cannot imagine the frustration of falling in love and not being able to express it, to watch individuals walk by you and pretend you aren’t there or look at you in the saddest of ways. It’s a hard life to live.

I finished this story, hoping against all odds it would have a happy ending. That’s what I wanted more than anything. I wanted Will to believe life was worth living, that he had someone that loved him and cared for him and that he could go on. The thing is though, sometimes, that happy ending is a faraway place. Although most of my blogs are uplifting and positive, you can’t always put glitter on everything. Sometimes you have to face the reality of life and all its flaws. Because nothing and no one is perfect. That night when I closed the book, I was both saddened and grateful.

I question constantly, “What is this fate and why is it doing this?”. I cannot imagine a split second changing everything. Wishing you didn’t get in the car that day, wishing you were five minutes early, that you hadn’t crossed the street, or that genetics didn’t get the best of you. You wish you could take it back, because if you could, it would change everything. Everything gone. Sky diving, bungee jumping, running, holding someone’s hand, typing these words…

There are individuals who are silently fighting battles we know nothing about. Through the needles, the tests, the aches, the pains, the nightmares that don’t go away… This is also the reason why, sometimes, you don’t even know their suffering at all.

Will’s character has taught me that sometimes life happens and it happens big. Things happen outside of our control. And usually not just once. But that’s life isn’t it? Clark’s character is similar to many: Designed to survive. Sticking to what you know. Being comfortable and knowing you will survive in it. In sticking to what you know though, have you given up on freedom?  And what has it costed you? Wasted time, lost opportunities…You have to remember what you want. The goals that you want and what you want to feel each and every morning you wake up. My wish for you is to not live life with regret.

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