For as long as I can remember, I’ve always been the clumsy girl.
Freak accidents constantly seem to find me, no matter how careful I am. From breaking my foot running from a bee in middle school (and still getting stung, too), to experiencing various aches and pains from years of competitive horseback riding, I’ve injured myself quite a bit in my short 23 years on Earth.
I’ve gone a few years without accidentally hurting myself. Still, I surprised no one at all when I broke my accident-free streak a few weeks ago. That day, I held the elevator open when I saw a co-worker running toward me (as anyone would). Unfortunately, the elevator’s sensors didn’t work, so the elevator shut on my wrist before I had a chance to react. Of course, I fractured my wrist because that’s always just my luck.
I could have made myself angry because I’d had yet another ridiculous freak accident.
Furthermore, I had to miss valuable time at work to go to urgent care, and the pain was pretty bad at first. However, I chose to handle the situation positively, and seeing the good in my injury taught me valuable life lessons.
My company considered my broken wrist a workplace injury, so I had to report to HR so they could set up workman’s compensation. The women I reported my injury to worried about me, but I made them laugh and thanked them profusely for taking the time out of their busy days to assist me. I didn’t complain when I waited for forms to process or explained what happened for the umpteenth time.
The HR ladies deal with enough rude people, and I didn’t want to be one of them.
When I talked to building management, I insisted that I wanted them to fix the faulty elevator so that no one else would hurt themselves. When I spoke with the man, he told me that he thought that I would treat him poorly and blame my injury on him. I don’t envy the types of interactions this man has endured in the past, especially considering that he automatically assumed that talking to me would be difficult.
Naturally, people in my office gossip, so by the end of the day, everyone heard what had happened to me. I could have shown anger that people were talking about me, but instead I laughed with them as I told the story to anyone who asked. I’m fairly new to this company, and the humor of it all actually gave me the chance to break the ice with some of my colleagues I hadn’t met yet, so I made some new friends. That day, I earned myself a reputation as a kind, good-natured person.
I chat with all of those colleagues now and join them for happy hours or lunches, all because they admired my attitude that day.
I’m also extremely independent, so asking for help is hard for me. It took me almost an hour to work up the courage to actually tell HR that I thought I had injured myself. Additionally, my hand is significantly weaker than normal, so I’ve also asked for a lot more help around the house, but people have been happy to help me, and I’ve shown gratitude in return.
Breaking my wrist taught me that attitude means everything.
Life is always going to throw curveballs at me, but the way I handle those situations defines who I am. I learned that I can’t change my wrist injury, but I can choose to be positive and treat everyone with kindness. Hopefully, my actions will help other people in difficult situations show kindness and gratitude.