One of the only assemblies that I remember from primary school was the one we had (probably when I was 8) about taking things for granted. The examples cited by our head teacher were things like food, water and clothes. Since then I have tried to be grateful for these things, most of the time. Even on aeroplanes or at summer camp, I am happy to eat whatever they serve because I know it could be worse.
Unfortunately, I never really considered most other things as things that could be taken for granted. As grateful as I was for gifts, phones, computers and household items that I used daily, I never really stopped to think what life without any particular one would be like. Additionally, I didn't even consider my health or lack of injuries as things that could be taken for granted - being young and "invincible"!
A short while ago I was hit by a car whilst cycling through Richmond! As I tried to go straight across an intersection, a car decided to turn right - into me - without signalling and probably without mirror checking (because I would have been pretty visible in broad daylight!) before they turned. The car knocked into me and pushed me (still upright - due to my pretty good balance!) a few metres before coming to a stop. Luckily there was little speed involved since the car was turning from stopped and there was no damage to me or my bike.
When the woman (who initially tried to drive off!) stopped and came to talk to me, I was pretty shaken up but quite glad that I hadn't been injured or killed. She came over to apologise and instead of ranting and raving - like many people since have told me they would've - I said "sorry" and "it's ok" and went on my way. I'd like to think that the experience of potentially killing someone changed her slightly and that next time she will check before she turns at an intersection but Richmond is renowned for terrible drivers so I doubt it. I’m pretty sure me getting angry wouldn’t have changed anything anyway.
A few weeks passed and I returned to feeling invincible - having now survived a car crash whilst on a bike! Unfortunately, I had been taking my health for granted and it came as a real shock when, whilst playing football (soccer not NFL), I sprained my right ankle. Trying to keep the ball in play I had jumped and awkwardly kicked at it before landing, with quite some force, on the side of my foot! I heard a small “crack” and fell to the floor - laying there for a few minutes whilst everyone rushed over. I remember biting hard into the fake grass because it hurt a lot.
Clearly excited to be on crutches and unable to perform simple tasks
(like carrying large objects or going up stairs) without a lot of effort.
Since I did not have medical insurance (the BC “care card” system requires 6 months in BC before you can get it) I chose to go home and R.I.C.E (Rest, Ice, Compress, Elevate) my swollen ankle - honestly believing it to be sprained and not broken. My justification for not seeing a medical professional immediately (knowing that it would cost me) was that I’d heard of hundreds of people getting sprains and none to my knowledge had died or required amputation! I decided instead to wait it out for a few days - hoping to be back to work, after a three day rest, the following Monday!
Around the same time, other things that I would usually expect to work without effort started failing on me. The first one was my phone. Having had it around in the kitchen at the Flying Beaver and in the dirt during landscaping, bits of dirt and dust had become trapped under the buttons and the “3” key had stopped working. As a number, this is useful but not always essential. As the letters “D”, “E” and “F”, this was massive. Trying to type a text message without one of these three would be tough. Having to type weird messages using uncommon words without explanation (since I could hardly type “my 3 key broke. I can’t use D, E or F anymore!”) became a real hassle. I am quite an avid texter and can send 2500 texts per month for free. This is probably too many (one every 15 minutes!) but doesn’t cost me any extra and gives me peace of mind knowing that I won’t run out!
I have decided to try harder not to take obscure things for granted but the irony of it is that you don’t usually realise until it is too late - “You don’t know what you’ve got ‘til it’s gone!” - so it’s naïve to expect myself to not take anything for granted ever again. For example, this is the second time I have written this blog because I took the internet for granted on the first one (as I have done before on other posts) and it erased the whole thing. Will this be the last time? Will I learn from this? Probably not...
But I'll try.