Unlike how I've reacted before when this has happened (yep, it's happened multiple times...I am a terrible driver!) the tears didn't immediately well-up in my eyes, and I didn't feel a pit in my stomach. I was calm and oddly uneffected. I sincerely apologized to the other driver, looked at my car and shrugged. Yeah, it's going to cost a pretty penny to fix it...but it really didn't phase me. I was just so relieved that it wasn't worse.
Many thanks to what my dad told me growing up, I was able to just get back in my car and go on without letting it ruin my day. Whenever something bad happened when I was younger, I would go to my dad, typically crying, and as long as it's not something to do with life & death, he's always comforted me by saying:
"Well, that's the cost of living. Stuff like that happens to everyone. It's ok"
"It's not cancer. You'll be ok."
Both comments quickly put everything into perspective. When I looked at the damage of my car, knowing it could have been worse (injuries), I immediately thought to myself, "this is just the cost of living."
So, as I drove away from the scene, with a crunched-in front bumper missing the Toyota emblem, I just thought...it's an absolutely gorgeous, quintessential So-Cal day and I'm not gonna let a little fender bender get in the way of enjoying it.