One of the most important things to do in life is to find your life calling or your dream. It is the one thing that will make us want to wake up in the morning and enjoy our lives. It is too easy to get bogged down by all the hardships of life. If you can do what you were meant to do, it can make life easier.
It can be hard to find what it is that makes you tick, but once you find it, you'll know because it'll be the only thing you want to do. Some people never find it, which is tragic, but other live an even more tragic fate: they lose the one thing in life they were meant to do. That is a much worse fate.
What would you do if you lost the ability to perform your one true passion? Would you let it crush you and destroy your life, or would you bounce back and find a way? Eduardo Garcia is a chef who could have easily decided to give up his love of cooking when he lost his arm, luckily that's not his story.
A Life Changing Accident
Eduardo Garcia is a 38 year old chef with a tragic and interesting story. Prior to 2011 he was an up-and-coming chef on yachts, but that all changed in 2011 during an accident. Garcia was hiking when he noticed something strange. According to him, it looked like a "dead bear cub in a large tin can." He used his knife to pry open the can. That's when 24,000 volts of electricity shot from the can to his knife, blasting Garcia.
"I remember the sensation of heat, I remember the ambient sounds of frequency being all-encompassing. My eyes opened. I remember seeing clouds and tree tops and I remember telling myself to get to my feet and stand up. I knew in that moment that I was dying, and I was walking to get help, and I was walking to save my life."
A Bag of Bones with a Heartbeat
The University of Utah's burn trauma center treated Garcia, but he wasn't out of the woods yet. The doctor on call described him as a "bag of bones with a heartbeat." Within 48 days Garcia underwent 18 surgeries, but the worst of them came when the doctor notified him that his left had was infected and needed to be amputated. This would greatly affect his cooking career, but he wasn't planning on giving up.
"I had a job to do, and my job was to be an active participant in my own recovery. Relearning, it was everything ... I've had to learn to say I don't need to be a perfectionist in the kitchen. At one point, I was looking at holding a knife or trying to hold a piece of produce again. You've got a hook. How do you figure that out? And you've just got to step in, step up to the table, and just start participating, just say, 'All right, one at a time,' and it may be a failure or it may be a success - just step up."
Garcia has Bounced Back
Garcia credits his recovery with his desire to relearn how to cook. He even has started his own company called Montana Mex that sells spices, oils, and sauces. "Trying to pay attention and respect the recovery process, the emotional recovery process and also, professionally, just still be me, still be a chef and put myself into that. It's been a funky balance, and I'm working to find that balance, still."
Another aspect of his recovery is returning to the outdoors. "The outdoors is kind of where I reset, and of course, as a chef, it's where I go to get a lot of what I eat." Garcia is proof that in life there are setbacks, but you ultimately control whether you're going to let those setbacks define you or if you will push on to be even stronger than before.
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