I found myself faced with this harrowing question on more than occasion in the last four years. I’m not saying I have all the answers by any means or that anyone does unfortunately. Nobody has a some magic potion that will make everything right all of a sudden and take away those dreaded feelings of lost opportunities/of life in general but I do have a little advice that may help you (at the very minimum) put things in to perceptive.
After a life altering event I think you just need to prioritize what makes you feel well-rounded, happy and fulfilled and focus on that. In doing so you can hope to regain a sense of control in your life. Whether its prioritizing education and finding a job after your injury, or helping more in the community, spending time with family and loved ones, taking up art, cooking, a sport if possible, voluntary work, meditation, fashion, makeup, blogging etc.I’ve tried and tested a few of the above avenues at this stage and there’s no doubt sports and remaining as active as possible since my accident has helped me enormously in all aspects of recovery. I have also found a great sense of joy in writing. But for me personally, it is the drive for every snippet of independence that pushes me forward. Even though time consuming it gives me a sense of fulfilment, knowing that I’m not reliant for some things.I fully appreciate this is a different form of independence than before but accepting and embracing this new disability-community definition of self-reliance is paramount. My latest endeavour is driving and despite needing assistance to get my chair in to the car, the rest is all me!
Be appreciative also that pain and resultant fatigue are daily norms with SCI’s, along with a litany of health issues and many other reasons that may hinder progress. Daily I struggle with the balance of finding the fine line between doing tasks myself to the point of physical exhaustion and accepting help (and more importantly asking for help). It is about setting realistic goals for yourself and slowly rebuilding the picture. Finally, as a quad, it is good to be ambitious and push yourself however do not allow a failure mentality to set in if you cannot do something by yourself.