LETTER: Remember the things you take for granted this Thanksgiving

Friday, November 19, 2010 | 3:58 p.m. CST

Thanksgiving — a time to recognize the importance of the little things in life, be more aware of the blessings that we all take for granted. When I was 16, suddenly I was faced with the shock of losing something of such importance and the sadness of realizing how much I had been taking for granted through out my life. The ability to walk was definitely something that I had taken for granted, I never realized something so meaningful to me could be taken away so easily. Because walking meant so much to me I now realize how much it means to everyone else as well.

No matter if you are staying at home or traveling this holiday, please wear your seat belts. If you or those around you are riding motorcycles or operating any kind of ATV's, wear your helmets. The thought never seems to cross your mind that there is a chance you could crash and burn. Helmets save lives. They saved mine. Think about the reason why you should be wearing yours.

Every one of us have the right to live, so you see we all have abilities young/old to use our minds in a positive way to protect what we love: life. ­ Everyone has to die, that is the easy part, the hard part is what leads up to your death, shaping, molding you as a person. We all breathe the same air, feel the same pain, always remember there are so many possibilities before you. ­ You owe it to yourself not to ignore what I am saying.

What good is power or control that you can no longer use? Or depend on? Placing yourself in senseless danger may lead to a life where you learn what a spinal cord injury is and come to the understanding how it controls your daily functions. ­ One of the hardest things to accept or to take: ­ the realization you will never walk again. I am trying to share the word that myself and so many others fail to get or understand, "safety."

I was lucky enough to live through and write about such a life threatening accident. When looking for the plan/road that will take you into the future I do not let uneducated, selfish decisions become a simple reflection of myself. I now live each day being thankful for my life, ­ no longer taken anything for granted. Being paralyzed the last 17 years has made me learn to respect myself and those around me. ­ LIFE: ­ an everyday challenge where I meet and find something knew to struggle with during my search for fortune and fame, somehow I learned how to accept failure ­ deal with all of lifes pain.

Unfortunately, tomorrow when I wake up, things will be just as today. I have realized that I can still maintain many of my hopes and dreams. ­ It's human nature ­ everyone has their own personality, so I continue to dream, enjoying the work out I am giving my mind, body and soul. If only I would have respected myself and everything I miss. ­ There has to be more to LIFE than this, may you learn for my mistakes is my only wish. Today is something you will never get back, everything in life carries its own weight, at times it becomes hard to think as if your mind has gone blank. One poor choice can lead to many years of regret.

Jason Jarvis is a Columbia resident.

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