If you follow me on social media, you may have noticed a surge of little cartoons and songs over the past few weeks. I made these out of joy that I could make them again.
Because just over three months ago - April 2, Good Friday, to be exact - it all almost went away.
I was playing with my kids in the street on a beautiful spring evening. Stomp rockets: little foam darts attached to a hose with a rubber bellows on the end. The kids are five and three. They love to stomp and make Dad chase the rockets as they sail far overhead.
Running backwards after one of these rockets, I felt my feet going faster than my upper body and knew with sudden certainty that I was going to fall backwards. I’m 6’1’ and highly uncoordinated, and I was going fast. Momentum took over before I could get my elbows underneath me.
The back of my head smashed into the concrete curb, rebounded, and whiplashed back again.
If I was unconscious, it was only for an instant. Instead I experienced the strangest sensation of my life. Shock waves reverberated down my spinal column as my body tried to absorb the impact. My spine was literally buzzing, vibrating like an incoming call from my future. My mind was clear: I could hear the footsteps of my children running toward me. But I could not move my arms and legs.
I am twenty-eight years old, and for an endless minute I was not sure if I would move again.
Then, slowly, my muscles began to respond. I rolled over and got up and helped the kids inside (“You’re bleeding, Dad!”) and went to the emergency room.
Just a concussion, they said. No brain bleed. Give it time. For weeks I couldn’t look at a screen, couldn’t work or spend more than a few minutes with my family without blinding headaches. Where my creative juices usually flow, I just felt a dull block of pain. For the first time in my adult life I couldn’t write, couldn’t play or even listen to music, couldn’t do any of the things that I think of as defining me. This was, to say the least, existentially flummoxing.
I was blessed that it wasn’t worse. I am blessed that now, after rest and physical therapy, I can work and create again. But this was not a guarantee. A little different angle, a little sharper curb - who knows. It can happen so fast. Life can change in an instant, no matter your place on the actuarial table or personal health history. There are no guarantees. Enjoy the moments, seize the days. They matter. You matter.
Sing along with me.
Links and events
Tomorrow: CloudFormation Deep Dive
July 22: Pluralsight + ACG Roundtable
Just for fun
Maybe you’re not surprised to learn that I did all this after getting clobbered in the head.