Unexpected Life Lessons (aka..I got in a car accident and this is what it taught me)

This is not the post I had planned for today.

Yesterday I got in a car accident. It was completely my fault. I cried for about two hours straight, called my mom, cried to her, texted my life coach (who also happens to be my triathlon coach), cried through a text message to him, made the guy I hit think something was wrong with me because I was such a mess, made police officers and fireman sincerely concerned because I was crying so much, expressed my emotions to the tow-truck driver, received many hugs from multiple people at the body shop.

Took a deep breath and realized I needed to stop. 


It is so easy to be positive, energized, count your blessings and live with intention when life is going smoothly. But what about when something doesn’t go as planned, when you hit a bump in the road, when you feel terrible in the middle of a race? Do you stop moving forward? 

I have struggled with this. In the past I have fallen and decided to stay on the ground for a bit. Even yesterday, I immediately started thinking about how I just wanted to retreat to my apartment and stay there for the next 48 hours. To stop moving forward. To not go to practices, to stop working on the blog, to put my dreams on the back burner for a bit. It is different for everyone. You might retreat from your goals by not going on that run, indulging in the whole pint of ice cream, skipping out on that coffee date with a friend, dropping out of the race, giving  up the sport completely (I wrote about my struggle with triathlon after a hard season here).

Or you can grit your teeth and keep going. 

Screen Shot 2014-01-21 at 7.05.45 PM

We have heard it: the tough times are what make us stronger. But have you ever actually tried to find the good in the bad, to count your blessings in the dark, to keep chasing your dreams when your dealing with a really annoying, energy-sucking situation? 

After I got my rental mini-van yesterday and I was driving home in silence this is what I thought about. 

photo 2(from one of my favorite books: One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp)

I thought about what I was thankful for:

  1. No one in the accident was hurt.
  2. Both parties have insurance.
  3. The kind tow-truck driver who kept my mind off the accident.
  4. That really sweet rental car lady who gave me the biggest hug.
  5. I was going home to an apartment with wonderful roommates, I would not be alone.
  6. My mom is the best.
  7. I get to drive this sweet thing:

photo 1

I remembered that my biggest intention for the week was to relentlessly follow what I love with everything in me. 

To channel my inner spirit animal.


(confession: I am also widely known as the honey badger, this is a poster my family made for me at a race)

 Stuff happens, you deal with it but you don’t let it get in the way of living. Life is not perfect, and I don’t know for sure but I think it’s about learning to embrace the highs and the lows, enjoying the journey, learning from it and growing every day and well, that is what I am going to do. How about you? 

Healthy Regards,




Have you ever intentionally tried to find the good in a tough situations? Continued to chase your dreams when it seemed easier to temporarily give up or put them on hold? Counted your blessings when things seem to be not so great? I have done this with races. Especially longer distance races or even long training days. There are times when I have felt less than great and the thought of stopping has crossed my mind but I have kept going. Honestly though in life, I don’t think I have intentionally done this before, so this is a first and it is sorta really liberating! 




  1. Meridithsays:

    I’m so glad to hear you are safe! Accidents are never fun and they are just that – accidents! This too shall pass and be a distant memory soon 🙂 Keep your head up!

  2. Bonniesays:

    It’s another speed bump in life. I appreciated this post because I think we all can relate to it!

    • hayleyelytle@gmail.comsays:

      I am glad you liked it! That is the goal with this blog, I hope most people can apply what I write about my life to their lives, its not about me, its about the readers!

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