Instagram is where it all started.

I encourage you to start your own as well. You may already have an Instagram and you might already track your progress. If you don’t, however, I give you permission to start today and anyone who opposes can see me.

Documenting your progress is important not only for people who care but for yourself. 

This is the story of my Instagram, how I use it and why you should consider using this way as well. Whether or not you’re in a wheelchair.

When I got injured, I didn’t have Instagram. My friend suggested it to me soon after. Actually, she more or less just asked me to send her a picture and told me that she’s creating an Instagram for me. The original name wasn’t “Cosmo Cant Die,” I forgot what it was, but it had an underscore in it and I wasn’t the biggest fan of the name, sorry Grace. 

Anyway, the first picture on my Instagram is a selfie I took when I woke up and came to. I guess you can say that it’s the millennial, phone addicted youngster in me that sometimes comes out and takes selfies right after surgery. I don’t remember my logic at the time if I had any, but I probably wanted to see what I looked like and what was in my throat. 

This is my first Instagram post, courtesy of my amazing friend Grace C.

I posted a lot on my Instagram story and in each of my posts, I talked about my day, my hopes and my thoughts. 

I posted about 4 times during the 6 days I was in the hospital and once I went to rehab, I posted nearly every day, skipping Sundays sometimes because I didn’t have any therapy and often took the day to relax and recuperate. 

While I was in rehab, I was making insane progress. Even by my own standards, and I was loving it! I can say sincerely that for the entire month (4 weeks) I was there, I didn’t have a single bad day. I may have gotten a little upset for an hour at most but I was never totally sad and I was never fully angry. I felt really good. I’ll write a couple of blogs about what I did and how you can do it too. Instagram played a part in my happiness and here’s why.

Instagram is today’s version of a scrapbooking if you do it right. You could say that about most social media – Pinterest, Tumblr, Reddit, Facebook, anywhere with text and images together. Nonetheless, I see it as necessary to document as much of your life as possible, mostly for yourself, then as you get older, it’ll be for your kids and as you get older yet, it’ll be for your grandkids. 

Think back one year ago on this day, the day you’re reading this. What were you doing? Do you remember what you were thinking? Do you remember if you learned something new or improved in some way? I don’t have any idea out of memory what I was doing one year ago today and you probably don’t either unless it’s some special day, but isn’t everyday special? Yes. Every day is special, it is fresh and new and exciting. If you follow the kaizen principle, which is almost a religion for me, then you’ll understand that every day is important. 

Flashback to a cold November 2016. Fade into babyface Cosmo, before college and years before a wheelchair. I went to Ghana, Africa with my family on a mission trip with the Rotary Club of Essex, CA. It was an amazing trip. It was also about 4 years ago.

Do you remember any large event that happened four years ago? A birthday party even. How much do you remember? I don’t remember much from my trip to Africa, yet it has made me who I am today more than almost anything else. 

Luckily, I decided to journal everything I did. At the end of the day, I would describe what I did and what others on the team did along with my thoughts. Had I not done that, I wouldn’t remember much of anything.

You’re on Team Cosmo and you’re smarter than most, so, you can see where this is going. 

Using Instagram to document your life is important. If you don’t feel like sharing, you can make your account private and have it be only for those close to you and write about more personal topics as well. 

The most important takeaway is to take as many pictures as you can, a selfie or something with you and then some of your surroundings. Do that every day if you can. At the end of the day or throughout your day, take notes and write out what you did, why, when where and anything else. 

When I went through rehab, part of what kept me sane and motivated was writing every day. You could say that its a type of meditation, reflecting back on your day also help with finding places where you can improve. For me, I enjoy writing, it’s part of why I started this website. I’m not perfect, and you should ignore grammar and sentence structure for the most part, you’ll learn that as you go. Don’t get stuck at the beginning. 

Cosmo and his Mom sitting at a table together. Cosmo is in a wheelchair and has his phone in hand.
My Mom and I while we talk about the post I’m writing (I did my drafts on my phone)

People supported me throughout my journey to recovery. Every day in rehab, I was motivated to improve because that’s in my nature, but on days that I was maybe a little tired, I knew I had to push myself because later that night, I was going to write about what I did that day and people were expecting something. I had gained the responsibility of inspiring others. 

Being in a wheelchair has many more opportunities than not. I’m a living testament to that. When people see you, it is your duty to push yourself to the limits. 

You have the ability to inspire others.

Not everyone can do that. Think of an average person, whoever that may be for you. They walk and don’t have any health issues except for the occasional cold. A man or a woman, they’re comfortable, they don’t struggle, but they don’t quite prosper. They have a job and its secure. What would it take for a person like that to inspire you?

80% of people can’t inspire anymore than a few people, and it takes a lot for them to do that. 

As soon as I got out of rehab, I went right back to college, I didn’t even go home first. I got injured on December 15, 2018, right before finals week at the end of the semester. I was in rehab for winter break, but the next semester started back up in mid-January. So, I signed up for online classes and started my semester in rehab and finished strong back at college. 

Do any college students inspire you? Maybe a few that get good grades and do a sport or some who are insanely smart. I was neither. I was an average college student, decent grades, my friends looked up to me and I was complimented quite a bit, so, I had potential but it wasn’t inspiring. 

Once I was in a wheelchair though, starting school right away is suddenly inspiring thousands of people and motivating them to reflect on their lives and challenge themselves. 

This is what I’ve done with my Instagram, though in all honesty, I’ve slacked off a bit. My progress isn’t as immense as it had been in rehab. I still challenge myself and improve every day, though. 

One weekend in rehab, a friend that I’ve known since middle school came to visit, she told me a short story, that a few days ago, her mom asked her to text me and ask when I’ll be posting. She is a true Team Cosmo member. Many, if not all, of my followers, are. I posted around the same time every night and many people eagerly awaited my post, wanting to see what I did that day. The first day that I walked using leg braces, I posted a video and I got a lot of messages from people saying that they cried. I was stunned, I didn’t expect that type of reaction, but I knew I was on the right track and doing something greater. 

Do something great, inspire others. Inspire yourself. Take pictures, take notes. Document today, so you don’t forget the great life you’ve led. Be vulnerable and show the world your personality and all of its beautiful flaws. 

Love, Cosmo

PS, if you’re not in a wheelchair and you’re worried about not being “inspiring enough,” don’t worry about that, as long as you’re improving every day, those who are close to you will recognize that and push themselves. Those are the people you love and they love you, inspiring them will feel amazing (it’s actually easy, so long as you challenge yourself).

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