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My 9th Crashniversary

Photo by Jill Bates

It’s been 9 years since I got hit. I’m not a big date person; when it would have been a loved one’s birthday, for example, I think, “that was Dad’s birthday,” but after the first year, I didn’t sit and think about what if he were still here with us? He’s not. I miss him, but I don’t imagine an ongoing life that would have unfolded if he were still here. And it doesn’t make sense to imagine the life I’d have had if I hadn’t been hit either–I was hit.

I usually remember the anniversary of getting hit because I get a card from my sister a week before. I don’t get weird about going out on my bike that day, or even think any more about it than I normally do. This year, though, I felt overcome with gratitude and needed to make a gesture. I live close to the fire house where the first-responder unit was dispatched from, and I decided to bring doughnuts for the current employees.

I went to my local gourmet doughnut shop, Rocket Donuts. They were into the story, so they gave me half off my 2 dozen and threw in a freebie for me to eat in the car on my way home. It had stopped raining by the time I got home, and I really wanted to make the delivery on my bike, so I covered the boxes with a trash bag to keep them dry and used my bungee net to secure them to my rear rack.

The firehouse is less than a mile away. I heard sirens nearby and thought maybe they’re out on a call, but I could see two trucks through the garage windows; only one was missing. The public entrance was locked and there were no signs of life. I went home and checked the non-emergency number for the fire department. No one attends it on weekends. The only way to reach the fire department was to call 911, and I didn’t want to do that.

I made one more attempt at the firehouse, then decided to take the doughnuts to the animal shelter where my fellow volunteers were setting up for a festival. They disappeared in about 30 seconds. Then I went home and wrote an email to the fire department’s general mailbox, about how grateful I was that they brought their A game on that day, and I wanted to let them all know I appreciate their service to the community. The email was well received and forwarded to everyone in the department.

I felt a little deflated after spending 4 hours trying to do a good thing, but it made me think too, about how right it was to pay it forward now instead of back, to move on and be about other things. In 9 years I’ve been forced to completely reinvent my life, and I finally think I’m doing a good job of it (no thanks to the State of Washington’s insurance laws). I’ve set and achieved goals, and now that I’m in the tiny house of my dreams, I have more work than I’m able to do! I’m having my first “black” month in 2 years, where my own income actually exceeds my expenses by a worthwhile amount, and it looks like there’s at least 2 more coming up behind it.

So, I’m not a big anniversary person (except for my birthday—I’m the worst birthday princess of all time). But anniversaries can be a time to take stock, to consider your progress during the most recent trip around the sun. This has been an amazing year, starting with my attempt to buy the tiny house in Canada and culminating in buying the tiny house here and moving onto the lot where I live now in an intentional community. I think if I hadn’t had the crushing disappointment of being denied residency in Canada and having to withdraw my offer on the house, I wouldn’t have had the sheer nerve to say yes when this opportunity came along, and to take a chance on this bunch of eccentric souls I live with.

All in all, a good milestone.

How do you mark progress in your life? What goals do you work toward?

My 9th Crashniversary

Kristin Noreen

Kristin Noreen lives in Bellingham, Washington with two cats and her vintage touring bicycle, Silver. Her triple passions are animal rescue, long-distance bike touring, and writing. Her book, On Silver Wings: A Life Reconstructed, is about reinventing her life following a catastrophic injury.

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APA Reference
, . (2019). My 9th Crashniversary. Psych Central. Retrieved on September 29, 2020, from


Last updated: 29 Aug 2019
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