Years ago, I landed an awesome job working as a contractor for a well-known IT company here in Johannesburg. I was going to earn a lot more money and my life was going to improve dramatically.
Or so I thought.
Unlike my previous company, I did not receive any benefits and was expected to sort out my own medical aid, pension and the like. Life as a contractor involved decisions that I had not previously had to make.
As part of my contract I ended up working at the North West Provincial Government office in a small town called Mahikeng.
Living in isolation is not easy and I missed home terribly.After a few months I was decidedly home sick.
I made a plan to visit home.
When I got to town the boys were already waiting for me. It was the best – catching up on the missed months.
My plan was to see my better half straight seeing the fellows. Wow – I was looking forward to that – I had missed her badly.
Finally I said my goodbyes to the fellows, got into my car and headed for my lovely lady.
I was driving slowly and steadily on that late Friday afternoon. Suddenly I was caught me off guard as a car came swerving to my side of the lane, crashing into me in a head-on collision. My car spun out of control stopping horizontally across the road.
Before I lost consciousness from the impact a woman came to my aid, asking me who I was and who she could contact to inform them of my accident.
When I regained consciousness, I was on a stretcher, and I could see familiar faces of friends and family who came to support me.
I was sure I was a goner when they broke out into song and started singing those hymns you only get to hear at a funerals!
Because I had procrastinated on the medical aid, I was moved from the luxurious rooms of Morningside private hospital, to the third largest hospital in the world, the Chris Hani Baragwanath hospital in Soweto.
I had sustained injuries that had me bed ridden in hospital for 6 weeks.
Although life at a government hospital was not as bad as I expected, the big problem was that I had no earnings; as a contractor it’s no work, no pay.
It took 9 months to recover fully!
It also gave me plenty of time to contemplate my future and consider my options.
Life was pretty bleak to be honest. On top of the fact that I needed regular physio, the country was in recession that year and it wasn’t easy finding a job.
I couldn’t afford my own life.
Realizing that contract work was not stable, I made a decision to go back to the corporate world so I could bank on a steady income and have Medical Aid. When I finally got a job it felt more like I was two steps behind, taking only one forward.
Today I am free of debt, happily married to one of the most amazing people I know, and for that, I wouldn’t change my life.
Looking back, the accident changed my life for the better.
It wasn’t a great experience. It wasn’t something I would choose to do again. It wasn’t something I planned.
But it did open my eyes and made me think differently and choose differently.
Thanks, Thabo, for sharing.
One of the things I harp on at my kids about (I’m a mother – I am allowed) is this: always have medical aid because you never know what will happen. I’m going to make them read Thabo’s story.
What his story confirms for me is that good and bad exists in every life, every person and every situation. Part of the process of growing up and living peacefully is accepting this peculiar characteristic of life. Resisting the bad (especially if you have no power to change it) causes unhappiness. Acceptance brings peace.
So where are YOU on this journey? Share some of your good/bas experiences. Your stories help us all to learn and grow.