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Nicki McCullough Calabrese

Nicki McCullough Calabrese

Nicki McCullough Calabrese, Ph.D.
School of Education and Human Services

Life can change in a nano-second. Life dramatically changed for me one day while walking to my car in front of my office in the Tower, as I have done thousands of time before. Literally, in a flash, I went from thinking about grading final exams and making a new soup recipe for my family to being in an ICU on a respirator, followed by a year of rehabilitation. I survived 22 fractured and broken bones, a traumatic brain injury, collapsed lungs and innumerable stitches. Sounds crazy, but this experience led me to a life-changing journey that has defined magis for me in wonderful ways.

While my body was physically healing, so was my soul. For lack of a better descriptor, I had my version of a spiritual awakening. A void I had felt before in my life was filled and all fear was removed. I was given a special gift. I now knew that I had to live differently. I could never again take one moment for granted. I could never again cause harm. I should seize all opportunities. Still, after more than 5 years, I wake up each morning and feel sheer JOY. It’s simply a better way to live. Suddenly and dramatically, because of experiencing near death, life became more precious and many things became evident. My condensed version of how this impacted my life and, hence, how I want to live my life, my magis is 1. Do something to enjoy myself today; 2. Do something to take care of myself AND the earth today; 3. Do something nice for someone else today.

It really can be that simple: Pura Vida!