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Breaking out of the habit

July 24, 2011
CHELSEY?ROATH , The Mining Journal

I'm a creature of habit. Every morning my alarm clock goes off at the same time. I stumble to the shower, head to the office and return home every evening at 5:15 p.m. My mom says I've lived on my own for so long that I've allowed myself to get into a very strict routine.

I never doubt my car will make it to the office or my lights will turn on at night. Everything worked the day before, why wouldn't it work now? I'm embarrassed to admit that I've started talking a lot of things in life for granted. Life will do that to a person. We get so busy living our lives we forget to appreciate them.

And, of course, when something doesn't go according to my plan, it's the end of the world. A tire goes flat; I spill my morning coffee; I lock myself out of the house - if any little thing goes wrong, I break down and want to curl back up in bed and wait for tomorrow. I know it sounds like a bit of a drama queen behavior, but I'm sure some of you can relate.

Don't worry, I'm not going to start lecturing on how we need to slow down and appreciate the little things in life. Not to make light of the concept, but I'm sure you have all heard that before.

A few weeks ago, a good friend of mine gave me a wake up call and showed me life doesn't always go according to plan.?Sometimes crawling back into bed isn't an option.

My friend Justin was in a serious car accident the weekend of the Fourth of July. He and his friend were on their way to breakfast. The next thing they knew, they were being hauled off in an ambulance. I don't know the details of the wreck but I do know the damage it caused. The driver sustained a few broken ribs. Justin wasn't so lucky.

Justin suffered from six broken ribs, two deflated lungs, a skull fracture, and a lacerated liver. He was in a coma for four days. Even though he's awake now, he still has a long recovery ahead.

Over the past few weeks, Justin has made incredible healing progress. The doctors are in awe of how far he has come. He faces daily struggles like not being able to use his right side very well. He can't walk yet. I say "yet" because Justin is a fighter.

Despite the hardship he faces, he still spends his days smiling and working towards getting back to where he was. Every day people encourage him by saying, "You can do it, Justin. We know that you'll get better."

Justin simply laughs and says, "Oh, ya. I'll be back to my old self in no time."

He never doubts and he never gives up.

It would be easy for Justin to throw in the towel and accept his defeats. But instead of trying to run from his troubles, he turns them around and makes the whole experience a positive one.

"God has a plan for me," Justin said.

Talk about life not going according to plan. I'm sure Justin and his friend didn't even consider not making it to breakfast that morning. But even though life has taken Justin down a new path that may not be as easy as the one he was on before, he is ready to embrace the challenge. There is no way he is going to expect defeat by running away from it.

Justin has shown me life is about how you handle it. . . not how you plan it. There are times, when we don't get a vote on what happens is out of our control. But we can control how we handle those situations. With a little bit of effort and a lot of faith, we can get threw anything. Just look at Justin ...

Editor's note: Chelsey Roath is a student at Northern Michigan University. Her biweekly column on college life in Marquette runs on Sundays. Her email is



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