941. We Were Never Meant to Live Small Stories
Encore: Jessica J.R. Owen
“One of the reasons I’m here today is that I didn’t get to do a lot of traveling prior to this accident of mine, but afterwards I had some opportunities to do so, and I found a huge passion for it and a way to open up my life. Unless we are challenged to grow and shift our perspectives, we will forever live small stories. And as humans, we were never meant to live small stories.”
Jessie Owen is an adventurous, spirited, silly person whose path was traumatically interrupted in 2012 when a tree fell on her family car while on a family vacation. As a result, she lost both of her parents and became a quadriplegic. After the accident, Jessie began the long journey to figure out how to do life and where she fit in again. For the first two years she focused solely on her body and regaining as much function as she could. But Jessie wanted more than simply being alive; she wanted to be more than just a broken vessel in constant need of maintenance. She wanted a life, and set out to create one.
The Most Impactful Turning Point?
“My path was rudely disrupted in 2012 on a December weekend as I was traveling across the Cascade mountains. Heavy snowfall combined with dry weather during the summer, made for perfect conditions for trees to fall, seemingly at random. And on that day, one of those trees fell on our car. And when I woke up in the hospital, I was given some life altering news: My parents were both killed instantly by the tree and I was paralyzed. In that instant, I lost both my parents and became a quadriplegic at the C3 and C4 level. Here’s the thing: Maybe your story isn’t as intense or as tragic as a tree falling on you and killing your parents, but we all know what it means to have your story stopped unexpectedly and completely change your perspective on the future and what we perceive is possible.”
The Most Powerful Lessons Learned?
1. I’ve been blessed to have great coaches every step of the way. My soccer coach taught me patience and kindness. My softball coach pushed me to do my best and set the highest standards.
2. My 16+ month-daily-recovery regimen of physical exercise and occupational therapy was grueling, but I had the most incredible support network of friends and family who stayed with me around the clock. I am still speechless at how selfless and loving they were and how vital that community was to my recovery.
3. After a couple of years I made the decision that my life going forward could not be focused solely on trying to fix and heal my broken body. I wanted to move beyond this turning point in my life and move forward.
4. I hired an experienced life coach who methodically worked with me over 18 months to reengage my life from every perspective in order to help me recreate a vision for where I wanted to go from here.
5. My life is very full and satisfying. I teach part time, I write a small travel blog and I’ve started a small business—a bar that allows people to bring their dogs inside while they enjoy a beer or watch a sports event. It’s great fun.
Connecting With Encore: Jessica J.R. Owen
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Careers: Business Owner, Teacher
Topics: Living Your Best Life, Physical Challenge, Travel