Nothing Is Guaranteed

Nothing is Guaranteed

I saw my life flash before my eyes. I now look at life completely differently.

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Lucky is an understatement. Lucky does not describe how I feel.

I never share personal things about my life and I have a hard time opening up to people, however, this is an exception. I feel like I need to share this with everyone.

I was driving back to Tallahassee on Highway 19, a highway I drive all the time. About 60 miles outside of Tallahassee it started pouring rain, nothing out of the usual, nothing I'm not used to. I was driving 20 miles under the speed limit in the inside lane of the Northbound side of the highway. I hit a huge puddle in the road and immediately hydroplaned. I slid across the median, two more lanes of traffic and then my car nose-dived into the ditch. (The picture is terrible and doesn't truly show what happened.)

Everything was a blur. I remember trying to hit my brakes and trying to steer my car away from the ditch. I remember my car jerking from side to side and me screaming. I knew I was going to die. No one goes across a median and two lanes of traffic and into a ditch on the opposite side of the road and walks away unharmed. I remember throwing my hands up to just let it happen. But, it didn't.

After my tires stopped spinning, I got out of the car to assess the damage and call my dad. I was shaking uncontrollably and could barely dial my dad's phone number. I didn't know what to do. It was pouring rain and I was sure my car was totaled. I got out in the pouring rain, unable to feel the cold and walked in the mud all around my car. My car was completely unharmed, just stuck in the mud in the steep ditch. The same rain that caused the wreck created the mud that played a part in possibly saving my life.

After I called my dad I sat in my car waiting on the tow truck to pull me out of the ditch. All I kept saying to myself was that I should have died, how it was a miracle that I'm fine and how grateful I was to still be here.

The accident happened Tuesday afternoon and I've spent the past 24+ hours reflecting on it. I still don't know how I got so incredibly lucky. It just so happens that the median I went across was flat and paved, unlike the steep ditch that acts as a median that was not 10 feet from where I flung across the highway. It just so happens that this was the only time where no one else was on the highway when my car went across two lanes of traffic. It just so happens that the ditch was muddy and my tires got stuck in the mud before hitting a tree.

After thinking about everything, I have a completely different outlook on life and happiness. We seriously cannot take anything for granted -- happiness, friendship, health, our lives. All of these things can be snatched away in an instant. I am going to live my life pursuing what makes me happy and what makes me feel successful. I have spent my life trying to please other people and making sure that all my actions are dedicated to other people's happiness. While I believe it is still important to value your friends and value other people, I am going to start taking more time for myself and the things that make me happy. I have set goals for myself that include finding a fun new hobby and to designate one day out of each month to spend the entire day doing things that make me happy. It is important to be able to take a step back and realize how lucky we all are and to be grateful for everything we have. We cannot let our time here on earth be wasted or not meaningful.

We are here to love and to be loved.

Spread love and spread peace.

I know I am here to do more than just survive and go through the motions of life.

And so are you.

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The Truth About Young Marriage

Different doesn't mean wrong.
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When I was a kid, I had an exact picture in my mind of what my life was going to look like. I was definitely not the kind of girl who would get married young, before the age of 25, at least.

And let me tell you, I was just as judgmental as that sentence sounds.

I could not wrap my head around people making life-long commitments before they even had an established life. It’s not my fault that I thought this way, because the majority opinion about young marriage in today’s society is not a supportive one. Over the years, it has become the norm to put off marriage until you have an education and an established career. Basically, this means you put off marriage until you learn how to be an adult, instead of using marriage as a foundation to launch into adulthood.

When young couples get married, people will assume that you are having a baby, and they will say that you’re throwing your life away — it’s inevitable.

It’s safe to say that my perspective changed once I signed my marriage certificate at the age of 18. Although marriage is not always easy and getting married at such a young age definitely sets you up for some extra challenges, there is something to be said about entering into marriage and adulthood at the same time.

SEE ALSO: Finding A Husband In College

Getting married young does not mean giving up your dreams. It means having someone dream your dreams with you. When you get lost along the way, and your dreams and goals seem out of reach, it’s having someone there to point you in the right direction and show you the way back. Despite what people are going to tell you, it definitely doesn’t mean that you are going to miss out on all the experiences life has to offer. It simply means that you get to share all of these great adventures with the person you love most in the world.

And trust me, there is nothing better than that. It doesn’t mean that you are already grown up, it means that you have someone to grow with.

You have someone to stick with you through anything from college classes and changing bodies to negative bank account balances.

You have someone to sit on your used furniture with and talk about what you want to do and who you want to be someday.

Then, when someday comes, you get to look back on all of that and realize what a blessing it is to watch someone grow. Even after just one year of marriage, I look back and I am incredibly proud of my husband. I’m proud of the person he has become, and I’m proud of what we have accomplished together. I can’t wait to see what the rest of our lives have in store for us.

“You can drive at 16, go to war at 18, drink at 21, and retire at 65. So who can say what age you have to be to find your one true love?" — One Tree Hill
Cover Image Credit: Sara Donnelli Photography

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My Favorite Teacher From Elementary Through High School

This teacher inspired me in way I could've never imagined at such a young.

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I've had some incredible teachers while growing up. Teachers are there to help students learn and grow into a mature and knowledgeable adult. When you're a kid, you don't acknowledge this.\

When I was a little girl, I came to school with the mindset of having fun. Of course, that's not what school is about, but in elementary school teachers try and mix studies and fun together so the kids don't lose interest. In the third grade, I can't recall a single day where I wasn't excited to come to school. A big reason for that is because of my teacher, Mr. Woods.

I remember how nervous I always got as a kid when I moved up a grade and was assigned a new teacher. I had no clue what to expect and if they would like me or not. When I got to know Mr. Woods and his teaching ethic, I grew more and more comfortable in his class. He helped me grow out of any shell I was hiding behind and show my true self. I can't even begin to count the number of times he let me come to the front of the class and read all the random stories I wrote any time I wanted.

His energy and passion for his job show through every lesson he taught us, kids. I don't think I would be writing this right now if it wasn't for his motivation. As a kid, I never fully processed all he did for me. He always managed to make sure my class and I were okay. He cared about us kids, and I could never repay him for all the things he taught me, academically and as a person.

I had the pleasure of going back to my elementary school the day before my graduation for a ceremony. Kids who were graduating this year were allowed to come back and we were honored. We were shown to the elementary kids, hoping to inspire them to further their academics. On the way to the school, I was joking with my mom saying, "I was Mr. Woods' favorite kid, of course, he will love to see me back!" to which then my mom would say, "Oh please I bet he doesn't even remember your name." So when I got to the school I was excited but nervous. When the lady at the mic told the current teachers to stand up, Mr. Woods yelled for me. It was a moment for the teachers to be acknowledged, but instead, he yelled, "Hi Paige!" I visited Mr. Woods every year I could at least once, but I never thought it meant anything. That day, I saw him crying,

I know he was proud of all of us. It's because he is someone who cares about his current and past students well being. He is the epitome of a great teacher.

He cheered for me once again when I was called up individually. When I got to walk the halls one final time, he gave me the biggest hug I've ever received. I got to visit him when everything was finished and give him a gift. He asked about me, let me talk to his students. If I could go back and relive through the third grade I'd do it again in a heartbeat.

Never in my life could I ever repay all that he's done for me. He helped me grow into the person I am today and pushed my passion for writing. He is absolutely incredible, and I always wish the best for him. I went through middle school and high school waiting for someone else to become my favorite teacher and while I had many good experiences, no one really compares to the impact Mr. Woods had on me. I'm forever grateful for him. I always will be.

Never take your teachers for granted, the giant majority of them just want what's best for you. Certain people touch people's hearts in different ways. Mr. Woods made an everlasting memorable impression in my life.

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