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When Death Came At Me…

Time froze as I flew off the highway at 70 miles an hour. It was December of 2006, and I had just hydroplaned in my 1995 Toyota Paseo; a tiny car certain to crush my bones on impact. I saw flashes of red tail lights on my windshield through the heavy rain that somehow felt calming. I took my hands off the wheel, my feet off the pedals, and my life flashed before my eyes – just like they say. In a moment that seemed like infinity, I asked myself, “What did I do with my life? Is that it?” One thing was certain in my mind – I was about to die. All I felt was shame. Shame at the waste of my potential and the shallowness of my relationships. As I prepared for the immense pain I knew was about to follow, I swore to God, my higher self, the Universe that if I made it out of this alive, my life’s impact would reach far beyond my small life. But that seemed hopeless.

On this particular highway, there was a concrete barrier for miles separating traffic, but I had reached a small stretch of highway before the turnpike where that barrier became a muddy ditch. According to the the police officer witness, my car missed a pole by inches and the mud slowed my car to a stop 3 feet from oncoming traffic on the other side of the highway. I found out later that if I touched my brakes, physics would have flipped my car upside down. Instead, time began again. The music on the radio carried on as if nothing happened. Not a scratch on me.

I’d love to say that I was changed in an instant, and I solved world hunger over the next decade. The truth is I had nothing to show for that day for years. Soon after the 2007 new year, my mind settle back into it’s old pathways, and the ways of the world seemed to put me back on auto pilot. In 2011, I woke up in a sweat remembering my promise to myself. We cannot change the world if we don’t first change our minds, get uncomfortable, and start listening.

That is why I have been studying personal development for the last 9 years, it’s why I’m more open to “silly” ideas, and it’s why I love a deep conversation. I like to think I’ll have a little more to show each day I get to be here.  I started Before I Die to talk about and develop ideas that will impact people, start conversations worth truly listening to, and to create a platform for living with the end in mind.

Author: Jess Kelly