Have you ever had something happen in your life that makes you stop and think what the f*** am I doing, and from that moment change happens? You suddenly realise that you can get off the bus and start a new journey, whether that be a relationship, work, a habit, the way you behave…some people refer to these as a Lightbulb moment, it was like flicking a switch and I saw things in a different way. Well, this is what happened to me a little over two years ago…
October 14th, 2019. Friday morning, my alarm goes off, it’s 4:30am, it’s a networking morning. BNI breakfast meeting in Northampton, so to get there early I need to leave by 5:30am, it’s a half an hour drive to Northampton. The mornings are dark, and this one was particularly miserable as it was raining.
I got ready and was in the car by 5:30. I was an accountant back then, I provided bookkeeping and accountancy services to lots of small businesses and individuals, I loved my job, helping people and providing a service that people could afford. I had so many clients that I ended up working most weekends, evenings…I would miss invitations to parties or going out with mates as I would work all the time. It was like being on a roundabout in a play park being pushed around and around, feeling dizzier and not be able to jump off, because you say to yourself it will stop soon, and soon as it started to slow down your mate would jump off and push it faster, inevitably it would stop, and this would be because I had made myself ill, so I had no choice but to stop. Ultimately, I lived a work-based life, something I used to tell my clients not to do. Why? Because it wasn’t healthy, life is for living so make sure you enjoy what you do and enjoy life, it’s far too short!
So, I am in the car, and I am on my way to BNI, the rain had slowed right down as was more like drizzle, but it was still a miserable drive. I am heading into a small village, Stoke Goldington. I haven’t passed any other cars or have any others in front of behind, it’s just me. I can see the top of the 30 signs as I approach the blind summit into the village, I start to slow down from the 60 MPH speed limit. And there it was. Two sets of headlights travelling towards me. I knew instantly at that moment this car that was overtaking another car and accelerating at me was going to hit me. Everything went quiet. I hit the brakes as hard as I could, gripped the steering wheel, braced and closed my eyes…at this moment you think about the ones you love, leaving them behind, the dog that’s waiting for you to come home, your family, your friends, your whole life flashes before you. I didn’t. I thought about what my clients would do without me and that I would be missing their deadlines.
BANG! This was my lightbulb moment.
I am alive, I am on my own, I am in a dangerous place on the road. I look into the rear-view mirror and see brake lights (I am praying they don’t drive off) and then I see reverse lights, phew. I need to get my car off the road before someone drives along the road and smashes into the back of my car. I make an assessment and think the car is fine, the engine is still running…I hadn’t even stalled the engine – consciously thinking take the car out of gear and release the clutch. It’s just the wingmirror that has come off, that must have been the noise, everything looks good, the airbag didn’t even deploy, it can’t be that bad. The person that stopped has appeared at my window, “Are you ok?” I replied with “Yes, just really shaken, I need to get the car off the road” “You can’t” he said, “I am fine to drive, let me just pull to the roadside so traffic can get through” “No, you can’t”. At this point I was thinking, I am very capable of driving the car 6 foot, I am a bit shaken but I have to move the car. “You can’t move the car because you don’t have a wheel to be able to move the car”…that was it…”Stay there, its’s warm, you’re safe, I’ll phone the police.” I closed the window on the car and burst into tears.
Shaking I phone my mum – no answer. So, I phone my friend at BNI and casual say “I am really sorry, I can’t make the meeting, someone has driven in to my car, are you ok to run the meeting, I don’t think I can get there in time” still thinking I would try and get to the meeting – Who was I kidding! Mum phones back and I explain what has happened, she’s on her way.
There is something which I haven’t told you or many about that day, about 3 days before I was driving to Buckingham to see my Dad. I had this feeling that I needed to get the tyre pressures checked and I knew the car needed new tyres, it was approaching winter, and the tyres were worn, I couldn’t keep driving around, I had to do it now! So, I phoned and booked the car in for 4 new tyres the next morning, they were in stock and ready to go – perfect! But I had a feeling that I shouldn’t be driving far until this had been done. Someone told me that day that I had to change the tyres (because they were illegal and the insurance might not have paid out if the car was not road legal), because I knew something was going to happen in the car. I knew that morning when I got into the car that it was going to happen which is why I chose to drive along the back road to Northampton and not my usually route along the motorway. I also drove slowly, not just because of the weather, but because instinctively I knew I had to be able to stop. That day was supposed to happen. The car was a write off, as was the lunatic who was overtaking the other vehicle – 100 yards down the road where he had lost the rear wheel of his car and was in a ditch. But I walked away, with a bit of whiplash. This accident was a wake-up call sent to me. A dodgem car ricocheting me back into life and feeding me my own words; life is for living so make sure you enjoy what you do and enjoy life, it’s far too short!