Last month, the six-year anniversary of my brain injury came and went. And like I’ve done most every year, I focused on it much more than I should have.
I am a consummate over-thinker. I’ve been wired like that since long before everything changed back in 2010. Some things were not affected by my injury. I would have no trouble overthinking my way out of a paper bag!
Over the years, I’ve been pretty outspoken about living two lives. So often, I’ve referred to David 1.0 and David 2.0 as if they were two different people. Traumatic brain injury is a game changer. There is no denying that fact. If you ask me what changed after my brain injury, I can sum it up in one word: everything!
But the reality is that I am still the same person who I was before my injury. I have the same birthday, the same eye color, the same DNA, the same wife, the same address, even the same kids.
I was David A. Grant long before I was struck by a teenage driver. I will remain David A. Grant until this life has passed.
By the time my anniversary came last month, I was worn out. Worn out from obsessing over the upcoming day, worn out from focusing on the losses, worn out for having it be just about the only thing I thought about for a few weeks. Being obsessive can be exhausting.
And it’s a safe bet that those close to me were tired of hearing about it as well.
As part of the human family, I am going to experience hardship. Welcome to life, kids. Sometimes, the grass is green, the sky is blue, and everything moves along happily. But if you are like me, meaning you have a heartbeat, sometimes things will suck. There is no way or reason to candy-coat it. Sometimes life is just difficult.
In the weeks that followed my anniversary, I continued to think – though not at a frenzied pace. And it hit me that others who experience hardship do not define themselves as two different people. I have close friends who have lost children – something I am unable to begin to wrap my mind around.
They do not define their lives as being two different people. My dad was diagnosed with cancer last year. He is not Dad 1.0 now living as Dad 2.0. He’s simply living a human life; playing as best he can the hand that fate dealt him.
I have set a new forward-looking goal for my life. I am going to try to look at the events that have come to pass through the prism of reality. I am one person who experienced a rather extreme trauma. I will always look at my life as “before and after.”
I deem that to be a healthy mindset, one shared by most anyone who has lived through a life-altering event. But I’m tired of a mindset that is divisive; that separates me from the rest of humanity. There will be no more David 1.0 and David 2.0. I’m done with that. I have no regret for this mindset—it is all part of the healing process. I needed to find some way to make peace with the events that came to pass.
Second to my new goal of being a person living a single life is my desire to be part of humanity again. It’s not me, as a survivor, against the rest of the world. Like some real-life version of the Walking Dead, the time for doing battle every day is behind me. I have one life to live. And the sooner I get on to the business of living, the better – not only for me but for those close to me as well.