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Matt Wilson (M, 35)
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Immortal since Feb 22, 2010
Uplinks: 0, Generation 3

Enabling Dreams
Helping others find their smile.
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    Where forward thinking terrestrials share ideas and information about the state of the species, their planet and the universe, living the lives of science fiction. Introduction
    Featuring Powers of Ten by Charles and Ray Eames, based on an idea by Kees Boeke.

    This is a piece I wrote recently for the Huffington Post. I am posting this here for safe-keeping.

    On August 7, 2013 our lives changed forever. It was an ordinary rainy Summer Wednesday and I was working from home. My wife had gone to work, though her students would not begin class for another week. My oldest daughter, Dee had been invited to go bowling with her best friend early that morning. Though, little did she know, this was the last time she would see her friend alive.

    Dee's friend arrived late morning to pickup Dee from my wife's school, along with her mother. They chatted with my wife briefly and departed. The rain was only getting worse at this point. They were not traveling far, though they needed to return a book to our local library before they enjoyed the amazing loaner footwear at the bowling alley. This would be their last stop.

    After exiting the library parking lot, they departed down a mildly windy road and the roads were terribly slick. One can only assume how many vehicles were hydroplaning that morning. As they drove down the road a sharp curve was presented, and the control of the vehicle was quickly lost. The vehicle hydroplaned around the sharp bend and it ended up in the opposite lane.

    BOOM.

    An oncoming vehicle t-boned them with almost no warning. The mother died upon impact, while her daughter remained unconscious. Dee was also unconscious in the back seat.

    Within two minutes of the accident, first responders were on the scene. It was clear that the friend needed urgent medical attention and the emergency responders acted quickly to get her to a specialized care unit in North Atlanta. Due to the low visibility and severe rain, the critical response unit from the Children's Hospital could not fly to the scene, instead the team was rushed up by local highway to care for Dee's friend and transport her to the hospital. Dee would soon follow.

    Approximately one hour later, I received a text message from my wife with "911" displayed. I had not seen this message since the days of the pager; it must've been urgent. The EMS unit had identified Dee, and through the county's resources located my wife as her mother. They were calling to share that she had been in an accident, but she was "okay" — I realize now why they always say the same thing to parents, as I was driving erratically assuming it was not severe.

    Upon arriving at the emergency room of the Children's Hospital we met Dee with what appeared to be severe cuts and scrapes on her face, as well as several cuts and bruises on her limbs. She was beat up pretty badly, though all things considered, a very, very lucky little girl. She suffered facial fractures, a concussion, mild internal bleeding, and severe bruising from the impact. Once we determined that Dee was going to be well, simply needed to recover and heal with hospital care, we met some of the Sheriff's Office scene responders. Within seconds, it was revealed that her friend's mother did not survive, and her best friend was brain dead with little hope of survival.

    Queue all of the assumed emotions...

    Dee's best friend passed away less than 48 hours later.

    As you may imagine, this moment in time changed my life, and many lives forever. I lost a family member in 2001 who was a first responder on 9/11, so to hear that they were on scene within two minutes of the accident was a proud moment! We are extremely thankful and blessed to have such amazing people who act selflessly to help others. They do so without any expectation of payment or reward. These acts of generosity and kindness are what truly inspired me.

    As my family moved on, we knew that we were blessed, and could never take anything for granted; though, we could never give back the amount of support received, it was that tremendous. Our lives were changed forever, and though I still have the fear of losing my child, she is still here, and I can only imagine she is destined for great things. I am committed to ensuring that she has every opportunity to change the world, as I truly believe she survived with a purpose. What this purpose is cannot be determined yet, though I am certain that it exists. My mission is to enable this purpose at any cost.

    Sometimes inspiration comes from the darkest of times. These moments will change you forever. It is up to you to decide if you will let it knock you down, or rise up, inspired and motivated to learn and grow.

    Live life to the fullest! Remember what others have done for you. Help someone else achieve something great, even if that great thing is simply a smile. When you awake, will your agenda for the day be something you regret, or something you proudly remember?

    It is up to you, and only you. Live proudly. Act accordingly.

    Enable the dreams of others.

    —Matt

    "The purpose of life is to discover your gift. The meaning of life is to give your gift away."
    —David Viscott


    *Some names have been changed to protect the identity of minors.
    Sat, May 2, 2015  Permanent link

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    How far back can you remember? Do you recall your days as a child? What questions proved most valuable to you? I ask these questions as I've surprised myself with my own answers.

    I watch my son, a three year old dare devil, as he shares his passion, excitement and thrill with all around him. I watch him do this with envious pride. He has a courage about him that is unmatched, yet he still shares an innocent curiosity when he gazes at you. He continuously reminds me that I am significantly inferior in potential as his desire to go-do outpaces that of a decathlete. Yet, without a moment's notice, he can stop, turn, look you in the eye, and ask "why?" — as most small children do. Interestingly, he will frequently followup his "why?" with a "how?" — leading to my intrigue.

    How many times did I ask a follow up question as a child, I asked myself. I could not remember. My son is asking follow up questions, not because he wants to badger me, because he wants to understand more than the philosophy teaches. He wants to be able to build the cogs himself one day. He exudes a 'wonder' that seems to outweigh any other I can recall, including my own (I am a curious, knowledge hungry fool). This wonder led me here.

    What amount of value can we place on this? Can we reinforce this behavior further? Morally the answer is easy, yes. However, logistically, it is a bit more difficult to support. How can we teach a three year old to tinker beyond what they see? What can we do to encourage forward thinking beyond bright colors, happy songs, and peeing on the potty?

    Honestly, if we want to live life fulfilled, we need to ask the three year old what they would do to have a good time, how they would paint the walls, what they would wear to work. Only then have we truly opened the door to the wonder of a child. The imagination and dreams of our youth are limitless, for now. The risk is us, realists, rule makers, nine to fivers, cramming restrictions and "don't do that" messages all over their upbringing. The risk is the statement. The risk is a sentence. The risk is not asking questions, and opening up the potential again. Let minds run wild. Let imagination take hold of decision, and creativity will dominate, not law.

    Let the wonder of a child back into our lives.
    Sun, Aug 17, 2014  Permanent link

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    How does one become inspired?

    Well, for all this is a different concept. Some of us are driven by providing for others; be it knowledge, care, or simply a path. Others are motivated by financial gain, or as I like to put it, greed. Then there are those who do not seem to have a drive, rather they are comfortable staying stagnant in life. They believe they cannot go up any further within their class, and generally do not believe in the possibility of moving out of their class. These different individuals are all motivated or not, but the puzzle is not whether or not they are motivated, rather, how do they ignite this motivation. What is the catalyst for this drive?

    I can only speak to what motivates me, and honestly it is a combination of knowledge seeking, along with a bit of greed. I want to be able to provide my family with more than my parents provided for me. Interestingly, I believe I already achieved this competitive goal from a materialistic, and financial perspective. However, I have a thirst for more knowledge.

    Knowledge is what brought me here, and truly where my passion lies. I enjoy true understanding, and do not like be kept in the dark on just about every subject that I am involved in. The one thing that drives me absolute bonkers is my inability to leave things alone when I know there is more information looming. This is a curse, but keeps me going further.

    My inspiration was discovered at a young age. I was a single father at the ripe age of 19, and as such I learned very quickly what I was required to do in order to provide for my daughter. I also learned that I was not going to be satisfied with simply providing enough to get by. Sure, I lived this way for her younger years as I had not even graduated school. However, I wanted to be able to offer her more opportunities than I had for myself. This was completely possible in my youthfully ignorant mind, and because I believed it, I was able to use this motivator and grow myself into a young leader within my organization.

    I still have a long way to go, and my to-do list will never be complete. However, I know what motivates me, thus allowing me to navigate my path much quicker than not having this knowledge.

    —Matt
    Mon, Feb 18, 2013  Permanent link

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