I was in a major car accident in 2005, and by all accounts, I should not be alive today. I had a traumatic brain injury (TBI), was in a coma, and called a hospital my home for six months. I was extremely lucky and regained all my cognitive functions, though I have yet to return to my full physical capabilities.
I was working at a venture capital firm at the time, and going back to work was never a question in my mind. I began working on my Blackberry in the hospital and returned to the office in my wheelchair shortly after I returned home. However, many of my friends and family members were perplexed by why I hurried back to work rather than focusing on recovery, especially given my adequate disability payments.
Throughout the next few years, while juggling physical rehab, a full-time job, and finishing my law degree, I started to question the motivation behind my various ambitions. What is important to me and what do I want out of my life? After much soul-searching, I realized my career is about choice: I do not need to work, but I choose to do it. Because it is a choice and not a requirement, work also gives me the freedom to pursue whatever I am passionate about.
My realization has helped me make additional decisions: taking the California Bar Exam, starting a non-profit for TBI survivors, and applying to business school. None of these are an obligation, or an expectation I need to fulfill. Instead, they are my choices and they add value to my life. When I am asked how I stay so energetic and happy all the time, I say doing things I love makes life that much easier, even during the rough times.