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  • Martina Huntington

11 Lessons from 11 Years in a Wheelchair

Updated: Feb 12

This time of year always evokes reflection on all that has happened in my life (snowboarding crash) and the lessons I've learned from them. Partly, because my crash happened right around now, but mainly because I want to reaffirm that all the pain and heartache I experienced then was worthwhile and have led me to excitement and adventure of where I am today. So, in an effort to make it count, I'm putting down my random thoughts and truths learned down here. Hopefully, it can help someone out whether in the trials you're going through right now, or to help you gain some perspective from a semi wheelchair aficionado ;)

1. God and Jesus, they both love you and are with you every step of the way. You are never alone. Allow their love to be your strength. Make them proud by being your best you.

2. Love yourself. Believe in yourself. You are valuable and you have so much to offer the world. You can make the world of a difference to someone and everyone. By the same token, love others. Believe in others. They, too, are valuable. And guess what? When you love yourself, it makes it so much easier to love others, differences and all.

3. You are the author of your own story. You are a powerful being. You get to choose the protagonist, antagonist, the storyline maybe with a few twists in between. Write a story you’ll be proud of. Whatever you choose, I hope there's someone dancing in the rain or skiing on the slopes.

4. Choose to see joy in all things. Embrace the moment. When my wheelchair starts moving by itself and I realize it’s my toddler pushing me towards the fridge to pull out a snack, I’m just in awe of her growth and resourcefulness. Never mind I spilled flour all over myself. 😜

5. Focus on what you can do and believe it or not, you can do many things, even many hard things. Think positive. I can push my wheelchair uphill with a baby in a baby car seat on my lap in the rain because I tell myself I can. And if I can ski, you can ski. We can do both simple and great things!

6. Push yourself to do things out of your comfort zone. Allow yourself to grow. Go see new places, meet new people, and get lost. You realize just how kind strangers can be when they’re willing to pull you up huge flights of stairs. And you’ll come away with countless stories

7. Be grateful! It's good to be alive! I'm so grateful I get to experience this human experience and make a difference. I’m grateful to keep learning And growing. I'm grateful for God’s love. I'm grateful for life!

8. Be kind. Everyone deserves kindness. Kindness is always right. Make time to show kindness and serve. Make kindness a part of who you are. Recognize kindness in others. Whether it be simple pushes or words of encouragement or a smile, kindness touches my life every single day.

9. When you fall, get up. Little by little, you can get back up. Learn from your mistakes and move on. Can’t tell you how many times I’ve launched out of wheelchair because of LEGO’s and had to pull myself back up again. My muscles are getting stronger!

10. Make time for what’s important in your life. Time to grow yourself and your relationships. Time to nourish your soul. My three F’s are my most important: faith, family, friends, and making time for them make my life all that much better.

11. Be an advocate and a good listener. It’s important to Share perspective and equally important to understand other people‘s perspectives as well. Speak up. Stand up for what is right. Have those tough but necessary conversations. Make a difference.

My life has changed so much. My experiences in a wheelchair have shaped who I am today and I’m so grateful for them. I just want to live in such a way that I’m maximizing the most out of my days, months, years. You know, make it count. Living my best life. I hope you will join me in doing just that. Feel free to pass this along to someone who might need it. 😘😘

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